• Would adding an ecommerce site to your small business increase your revenues?

    What You Need to Know to Build an Ecommerce Site

    There are many similarities between operating a physical brick and mortar storefront and an online ecommerce site. Both must be taken seriously and handled professionally, otherwise your visitors will leave without making any purchases. We can all understand that the product illustrated could be amazing, but if the potential buyer can’t make it through the purchase process, they will leave and buy somewhere else.

    If you are considering an ecommerce option for your business, you must make decisions that will fit the product(s) you are selling and the customers who will buy. The process should be easy to navigate and easy to use.

    What does it take to set up an ecommerce site?

    Before you even begin to consider the nuts and bolts of setting up the actual store front, you must be aware that the platform on which you build the store must be a solid foundation that will support what you are doing. It’s the same idea as building a skyscraper on sand. If there is not a strong enough base, the entire project will collapse – after driving you crazy with all the little problems you’ll have every day until the day of the big crash.

    Although we know our clients are eager to proceed with all the exciting elements of building a digital store, here at NuMedia Marketing we know that the first steps are the most important. Technical details regarding the website such as hosting decisions, content management systems, website templates, security essentials, backups, and server capability are critical first steps.

    To completely nail those items down, there are several decisions to be made and steps taken before you can even think about developing the actual online store:

    • You should have a domain name, a web host, a dedicated IP address for your website, and a private SSL certificate.
    • You should have a website.
    • What are the products?
    • What are the prices? (Be sure to include costs of business such as payment transaction fees.)
    • What payment methods will you accept?
    • What merchant account(s) will you use?
    • How will the product be delivered?

    There is one more element you must consider when launching an online store. You must protect it, just like you would protect your physical location with alarms and security, you must protect your online store from hackers and other digital problems. Be sure to have backups and protections in place that will operate behind the scenes to keep your business secure.

    After having answered these questions you have much of what you need to move forward with two other components of an ecommerce site: selecting a payment gateway and a shopping cart.

    Payment gateways for your ecommerce site

    You must have an idea of what you are selling, how it will be paid for and how it will be delivered to decide on the best ecommerce platform, or shopping cart, and payment gateway provider. Some shopping carts are better for certain kinds of products and not others. Many gateways, like PayPal, accept credit cards, but some people might not be comfortable using PayPal. Decide what you want to use and be comfortable understanding the fees that will be charged for transactions.

    The payment gateway will integrate with your merchant account, and they must be compatible, so that is one of the first considerations. Don’t worry, because most merchants integrate with most of the payment gateway applications, but you do want to confirm this point when making a selection. Fees can also vary and the amount of time to have funds reach your accounts. You will also want to fully understand how returns and refunds will be handled for your merchant and for the gateway.

    Shopping carts, platforms for your ecommerce site

    How do you want your store to operate? Immediately upon entrance to the website or as a separate place on your website? i.e., via a tab? Shopping cart apps (or platforms) set up your store database and provide you with links to your shop and the admin area behind the store.

    Options offered by shopping carts vary, but can include:

    • Tracking products in stock
    • Different tax classes and rates
    • Category and product population processes
    • Report generation
    • Notification of orders and other communications
    • Order fulfilment and shipping options
    • Integration to the payment methods and payment gateways
    • Configuration options: columns, sale, discounts, FAQs

    You can customize the cart to reflect your business branding, including your logos, your name, and the contact information – address, phone, and email – in headers and footers. You will want to be able to customize the pages so that it is consistent with your business branding for marketing purposes.

    Remember that the online store represents your business and will be your business home on the internet. You will refer customers you meet face-to-face to it for their business, so you want it to flow seamlessly with your business brand message.

    An ecommerce site is not set it up once and leave it

    Even if you get through everything and are happy with the look, feel, and functionality of your ecommerce site, you must recognize that it must be maintained. Reasons are various:

    • Adding new products
    • Removing discontinued products
    • Updating prices
    • Changes in tax rates or processes
    • Changes in shipping rates or processes
    • Special sales, discounts, or offers
    • Digital and internet updates and changes

    Just like in a brick and mortar retail operation, shelves must be maintained and product rotated, so must an online store. Be sure to set aside time and energy to dedicate to your store maintenance.

    Running a retail operation is complicated, whether it is a physical storefront or a digital storefront. There are many different balls to keep juggling. An online store will, indeed, increase your reach and, in many instances, provide many other benefits. But it is as serious an operation that must be maintained and protected as a shop full of inventory and customers.

    Ecommerce sites are serious business

    We don’t have to tell you about the potential that an ecommerce site can have for certain businesses, you see it every day. If you want to get in on the stream of business the digital platform can open up for you, we urge you to take it very seriously, and to do it right. There is nothing that can hurt your business more than an online store that is not functional. It provides a picture you don’t want to give your customers or deal with day by day.

    Here at NuMedia Marketing, we have lots of experience developing and maintaining ecommerce sites. Give us a call at 317-563-7235 to set a time we can meet and discuss what an ecommerce site can mean for your business. We’d be happy to help!

  • Turn a promotional product into a valued gift that is valuable to your business

    Social Media Measurement Tells You What You Need to Know

    You have decided to make the leap into the social media pond. You’ve made sure there are posts going out on Facebook, Twitter, and even on LinkedIn. You can be proud. You’ve been consistently posting for close to four months now.

    I have to ask – How’s it going? Are you getting the traction you want? What has changed in your business?

    If you don’t know, you aren’t alone. It’s not just social media where this happens. It happens a lot in marketing and advertising. Some business owners go at it with a trial and error approach or a shotgun approach, hoping that something sticks and works.

    But how do they know?

    There are a lot of things that can be measured in a social media marketing campaign. It doesn’t all boil down to how many times the phone rings. Social media and online marketing is much like traditional marketing in that it takes time and touches. The best results come from a long-term, consistent effort. Some of the areas that provide evidence of a productive campaign are:

    • Reach and engagement
    • Traffic
    • Audience profile
    • Audience size
    • Competitive benchmarking
    • Sentiment analysis
    • Content analysis

    That’s a lot to look at, which means you could spend your entire life drilling down into details of a single campaign, and we all know small business owners don’t have the time for that.

    Strategic planning pays off

    Here at NuMedia Marketing we know that no single marketing campaign can do it all! That’s why a marketing strategy starts with identified purpose and goals, then the campaign is built to achieve those goals. Measurements and benchmarks are established to determine the success of the strategy.

    We all know that technology, and everything about it, changes constantly. That includes social media marketing. What might work at one point in time may be less effective at a later time. That’s why measurement is so important. As the results zig-zag across the online field, it’s important to tweak and modify different elements to achieve the best results possible.

    Of course traffic, reach, and engagement must be monitored. However, the types of posts – or content – has an impact on the results, as well. The message, after all, is at the center of the purpose of the campaign. Are you as a business owner trying to educate and nurture prospects, or are you offering discounts or sales to entice current customers to purchase more or again?

    Through it all, consistent branding is required along with the consistent messaging. It’s a plan. Measure the plan results and then tweak and modify for greater effectiveness, or make a change in the purpose and set new goals.

    We have all heard variations of “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it,” or “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” Whichever version you have heard, the basic message is true. You must have a way to measure what you’re doing to determine if you are getting the return on your dollars, time, and effort.

    NuMedia Marketing has systems in place to help you development a strategy and plan to project consistent, on-brand messages through social media and then to measure it to keep on track. Call us at 317-563-7235 to put our team to work for you and your business.

     

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    5 Ways to Use Promotional Products to Improve Your Business

    When I think about promotional products, my mind begins to swirl. Seriously. It might be because marketing is my “thing,” but it’s also because what some have considered cheap junk in the past are beginning to see the real value they can bring to a business – and it’s not all just giving things away. What your business gets in return is real – real like in dollars and cents real.

    Just off the top of my head I see at least five ways you can use promotional products in your business to improve your business.

    No. 1 – Promotional Products for Branding Consistency

    Apparel i Apparel is one of the easiest ways to brand your business.s one of the easiest ways to bring a consistent branding appearance to your business. With the variety of clothing options from t-shirts to button-up shirts, skirts, sweaters, and aprons, you and your employees can provide a consistently crisp and attractive appearance – no matter what industry. I’m saying you don’t have to be a restaurant. No, even a tech company can require employees to wear a work shirt that is a red polo with your logo imprinted on it and black pants. Your logo and brand colors greet every client.

    Likewise, if your business is one that performs outdoor services, jackets, fleeces, sweatshirts, gloves, and hats can all be branded for your company.

    Apparel options are endless and you can control the way your customers see your company at their door.

    No. 2 – Promotional Products to Stay Top of Mind and In Front of Your Customers

    Where is your client or prospect when they contact you for business? If they are at their desk, provide them with a promotional product (with your branding, of course) that will stay on their desk and keep you and your company in their line of sight for a long time. What kind of items could that be?

    • Post-its keep your business front of mind.Calendars
    • Coasters
    • Pens
    • Post-it notes
    • Candy jar
    • Mugs

    If your client is often on the go, there are a variety of branded products that could be on the go with them:

    • A keychain keeps your brand really close at hand!Pens
    • Portfolios
    • Business card holders
    • Thumb drives
    • Portable power hubs
    • Keychains
    • Insulated drink cups

    No. 3 – Promotional Products as Thank You Gifts for Top Clients

    Showing your appreciation never, ever goes out of style. Branded gifts of quality are not what many people think of when they want to show their appreciation for loyal business. Maybe that is because most people don’t think unique and quality when they think of promotional products – but you can get high quality at a reasonable price.

    For instance …

    • Wouldn't you be impressed with a leather bag?Food and edibles such as steaks, brand name confections, cakes, cookies, and fruits
    • Wines and spirits
    • Executive sets including leather portfolios, high quality pen and pencil sets, or briefcases or messenger bags
    • Technology devices and accessories such as speakers, charging stations, cameras, drones, earbuds

    No. 4 – Promotional Products for Employee Motivation, Incentives, and Gifts

    There are so many options to use promotional products for employees, that I can’t cover them all, but here are a few.

    • Something handsome and useful makes recognition a fond memory for employees.Rewards and recognition – Yes, you could have engraved plaques and trophies, but you could also have a certain gift tied to recognition, too. For instance, when recognizing loyal service for a set number of years you could reward your employee with a high-quality tote or bag after their first year of service. For two years, a journal or portfolio, and for five years you might reward them with a Bluetooth speaker or other technology accessory.
    • Not just winning, but winning a nice prize makes a difference!Contests – Whatever contest you can devise, you can find prizes that fit the results – and even the season of the year! For a summer contest you could have beach towels, sunglasses, BBQ sets, lawn chairs, and even cabanas and coolers as prizes. Another idea is for each participant to rack up “points” that they can spend in a store you have set up that includes gifts of all sorts in all different levels. That way they can “purchase” what they want from the points they have earned.
    • When employees feel appreciated and valued, they perform better.Appreciation Gifts – Employees might not admit it, but they appreciate it when they are gifted with even a small token of quality that if functional. For instance, getting a personal padfolio on their birthday might seem like a small thing, but you might surprised who excited they get being recognized, valued, and appreciated.

    No. 5 – Promotional Products at Community Events, Conferences and Conventions

    Whenever you attend an event as a sponsor or in a booth, that is the time to get creative. Your business will be one of many, no doubt, so you must make sure that you stand out!

    Themed promotional products add to your sponsorship results.Make a difference in your community.For instance, if the event is for breast cancer awareness, provide a themed item that will be kept such as an information booklet, Women’s Health Planner, or a bookmark. Or, if the event is a fire safety event for families, give away jar openers with your local fire department’s info (and your brand, too!).

    Promotional products make a hit when they touch the heart.Sponsoring an event for a pediatric cancer charity? Give away plush animals for children. Every child loves stuffed animals and every parent loves to see a smile on their child’s face.

    Of course, pens, post-its and calendars are always great give-aways for the general public.

    You see, there are many ways to use promotional products for marketing your business – and this just touches the proverbial tip of the ice berg. We haven’t even gotten into the creative and fun types of uses. If you can imagine it, we can make it happen, I’m pretty sure.

    The bottom line for promotional products is that you use them to create a good feeling and goodwill with your employees, clients, and prospects.

    Remember what Maya Angelou said,

    “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

    Turn your promotional product giving into gifts that make the recipients feel good so they will remember.

    Call us at NuMedia Marketing at 317.563.7235 and let’s figure out what it is you can do to create some great memories!

  • Is this how you feel about social media? NuMedia Marketing can make it easy for you and your business!

    Which Social Media Platforms Are Best for Your Business?

    If you haven’t jumped into the social media pond yet, you might be comforted to know that you are not alone. There are a lot of small businesses who haven’t even dipped their toes into what they feel is a swirling whirlpool of roiling waves on top of a powerful riptide lurking underneath. Some don’t have or use their own personal Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn pages, either. So don’t feel like you are a caveman among crowds of astronauts. You aren’t.

    That being said, getting into the social media scene could be a very good thing for your business. For businesses, especially small businesses, social media plays three major roles:

    1. To bring awareness to your business and create a presence in the marketplace so when customers need your product or service, they think of you
    2. To build relationships with your existing clients and extend your reach to new customers
    3. To market your products, services, and events to the widest audience possible, including sales and special offers

    Those three roles are each huge undertakings in and of themselves, but when you add the numerous social media channels, or platforms, it can all become overwhelming very quickly. But stop, and just like most other things, let’s start with the first step.

    Which social media channels should you consider?

    The social media platforms most businesses should begin to consider include:

    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • LinkedIn
    • Google+
    • Pinterest
    • Instagram
    • YouTube

    That doesn’t mean that you should select a couple at random, or jump into all of them. Stop and slow down. Each platform has its own unique attributes that will inform you of which to avoid and which to establish a presence. One of your top goals is to find out where your target market is active on social media and then go there. To help you out with that, I’m going to give you a few statistics and bits of information about each that will probably inform some of your decisions right off the bat:

    FACEBOOK

    By far the behemoth of social media reaching the broadest audience online. The general consensus is that every business, if they are going to get in the social media mix, needs to be on Facebook. This is regardless of industry, product of service. Even though some complain that their reach is restricted by the algorithms, this is where just about everyone can find their targets.

    • 71% of adult internet users are on Facebook, which is the largest social media audience. 1
    • 28 billion people have monthly active accounts1
    • 802 million users log in daily1
    • 45% of users are 25 – 44 years old2
    • Gender breakdown: 53% women and 47% mail1

    Other considerations:

    • Hashtags are becoming more common
    • Posts are being indexed in search engines
    • 44% of users check their Facebook feed several times a day.2

    TWITTER

    Twitter fosters interactions. This is the place to post content, education pieces, and posts that are for branding purposes, exhibiting your company personality. It’s also good for offering special deals and discounts. Just like Facebook shares, users retweet posts to their followers, which expands your reach.

    • 650 million users1
    • 340 million tweets a day1
    • Gender breakdown: 53% women and 47% men1
    • 51% of active users follow brands or companies, 90% of those looking for promos or discounts1

    Other considerations:

    • You should learn how to use hashtags (#) and mentions (@)
    • Tweets will reach all your followers
    • The average lifespan of a tweet is only about 2 hours1

    LINKEDIN

    LinkedIn is a platform more for B2B businesses and for sharing professional expertise and information. It is great for posting job opportunities but not so good for B2C type communications. LinkedIn is a great place to network and share by joining LinkedIn groups. The main purpose of LinkedIn is professional networking and building connections.

    • 300 million people using LinkedIn1
    • 75% of users use their account 4 hours or less per week1
    • Gender breakdown: Roughly 50/501

    Other considerations:

    • Anyone can access your posts, even those people who are not your connections

    GOOGLE+

    Obviously Google+ is the Google social platform. It is similar to Facebook and Twitter, but it connects with other Google features. It is understood that using Google+ can have a positive effect on SEO.

    • 550 million active users monthly1
    • Mostly men users1

    PINTEREST

    Images are the key here. Pinterest is great for lifestyle-related products like food, fashion and home décor. Although topics including pets and business ideas are also doing well here. This is a great platform to bring “personality” to your business. If you are on Pinterest, it is important to brand every image with your company’s logo. A tip: Try Pinterest as a user before attempting to use it for your business.

    • 70 million active monthly users1
    • 80% of Pinterest users are women1
    • 34% of users are between 18 – 29 years old; 28% are between 30 – 49 years old2
    • 7% of shoppers say Pinterest has inspired holiday gift purchases1

    Other considerations:

    • Pinterest gets more referral traffic than Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit and Google+ combined1
    • It generates a lot of traffic to websites1
    • “Pins” stay active for months1

    INSTAGRAM

    Very visually oriented. Images drive the platform so the user must have content that will be visually interesting and easily represented through photographs. Quality of photos are important here, too.

    • 500 million users on the app and 59% check the app daily2
    • 37% of users at 18 – 29 years old1
    • 68% are female1

    Other considerations:

    • Instagram is good for sharing spontaneous events, projects, machinery, etc. that are part of the business

    YOUTUBE

    You know YouTube is for videos. The thing is that YouTube allows users to upload, share, and view videos. Bear in mind that it is the second largest search engine (behind Google – and it is owned by Google). It is very SEO friendly. Just about everyone has been on YouTube at some point so you know the variety of video content is limitless. Every business can create something for YouTube.

    • 100 million unique visitors monthly1
    • 54% of users are men1
    • 37% of users are between 18-34 years old1

    Other considerations:

    • Perfect length is reported to be two minutes or less
    • Videos remain online indefinitely
    • Videos put a face to your business and demonstrates your expertise

    Now What Do You Do?

    I know that this provides you with a lot of information, but look at each platform with a critical eye and the goal of choosing your top three. Set up a page for your top choice and learn to use it. Start slow. Set a goal of a certain number of posts per week. Then start posting. Just remember: once it goes out, it’s there forever. So be mindful of the image you want to present and the impression you want to make – it’s your business at stake.

    On the other hand, if you want help, contact us at NuMedia Marketing. We understand social media and branding, and how they can work together to market your business. There are very few businesses that should be on all the social media platforms, but we firmly believe every business should be online somewhere on social media. The metrics and ROI we have seen with our clients show us that it is an important avenue for business growth.

    Call us at 317.563.7235 and let’s set up a time to talk about how social media can benefit your business.

  • Computer hacking is a problem every website owner needs to be prepared to battle.

    Intrusion Protection – How Vulnerable Are You and Your Business?

    Cybersecurity is one of the fastest growing industries around the world and there’s a significant reason. According to a special report sponsored by Herjavec Group, it is predicted that “cybercrime will cost the world in excess of $6 trillion annually by 2021.” Computer hacking is NOT something that is going to decline.

    In April, 2017, a CNBC headline declared “Congress addresses cyberwar on small business: 14 million hacked over last 12 months.” I’m not going to address any political stance on what the government is or is not doing to help business regarding cybercrime or hacking, I just want to call your attention to the number: 14 MILLION!

    With the growing number of hacks using ransomware, protecting your network and computer systems is imperative. Yes, the big corporations are hit, but so are the small businesses. The ransoms are often demanded in bitcoin payment so tracking and stopping the crooks is virtually impossible. Maybe that will change, but for right now, the best thing you can do is be forewarned and for-armed!

    The report on CNBC says that most small-business owners don’t think they are at risk. I can agree with that in my experience, and the other obstacle to safety is the fact that most small business operations do not include an IT person. Owners think they can stay on top of updates and security patches.

    Some owners might be tech-savvy enough, and have the time to devote to updating systems and tracking potential problems. But here’s what I usually see:

    1. A hacker creates and sets loose a hack that spreads like a virus.
    2. The big cybersecurity firms like Norton, Wordfence Security and others create a security patch to counter the hack and notify their clients.
    3. Some organizations, like NuMedia Marketing, immediately apply the update to all the accounts we maintain, providing the fastest and most efficient security protection.
    4. Other individual clients might not see it or let it sit in their email inbox for days. And who know what can happen in the meantime.

    Often the hacks occur because an update is made available for systems platforms and, if not installed, a big gaping hole is left open for the slime to slink in between the cracks. This often happens when systems are integrated with other systems and plugins, there are tiny leaks in between them that need to be plugged. Once the gaps are identified, the system programmers create a patch – an update – but anyone who doesn’t see or skips the update is left wide open and vulnerable.

    How do you protect your system?

    Firewalls can be your first line of defense. It is a network security systems designed to prevent unauthorized access to or from a private network. A firewall can be implemented individually in software or in hardware, or as a combination in both.

    Firewalls can be customized to you network or system and protect both personal and commercial or corporate networks. There are several different techniques used in the application of a firewall and, depending on your needs, can be a complex and highly technical configuration.

    Regular digital maintenance is another line of defense that every website owner should consider. Keeping your website updated, in all respects, helps to eliminate holes and gaps that make you vulnerable to the hackers.

    For example, when WordPress releases an update, it might break the links to a variety of plugins site owners have used for their ecommerce, communications, and other things. When there is a disconnect, it’s often like leaving the door open. Until that break is uncovered and reconnected, the danger is there. That’s why having an IT professional monitor and review your site and its apps is the best and easiest way to BE SURE you stay protected.

    Where can you find help to secure your network?

    When was the last time a true IT professional took a look at your site? Don’t leave yourself open to some hacker’s dream or some criminal ready to hijack your data and hold it hostage. Do you have what you need to protect your business? Are you protected with the hardware and software that is effective today? As the bad guys grow more sophisticated, so does the protection you need.

    Contact NuMedia Marketing online or by calling 317-563-7235, and let our IT professionals take a look-see at the backside of your website and your system. We know what you face, even if you don’t, and we are right here ready to beat off the attackers.

     

  • Prevent a computer crash from calling a halt to your business with IT maintenance.

    IT Maintenance – It’s Like Doing Laundry

    Everyone loves that first day with a new computer or software. Everything is neat and tidy. It runs smoothly and f-a-s-t.

    Then we get to work.

    Time passes.

    We pull in new apps and spend time surfing from site to site. We save documents and images, links, and our desktops get cluttered and messy. Our bookmarks get cluttered and disorganized. Things start slowing down.

    Apps and sites get updated and we upload some of them – when it’s convenient. All of a sudden, things on our computers and networks don’t work quite right. An integration jams up our system or process. Maybe a connection is broken, printers don’t link or print properly. In worse case scenarios, something crashes.

    It’s annoying and aggravating – and slows us, and our business, down. We start thinking what a pain in the neck technology really is – not the wondrous world we anticipated – and were promised.

    IT maintenance is a real thing – consider it a necessary aspect of your business

    Think of basic IT maintenance like housekeeping – or doing laundry. Just like your home or vehicle needs basic care and maintenance, so does the technology in your system. There’s nothing worse than not having clean underwear or clothes to wear. And, like doing the laundry, some basic IT maintenance will keep your systems running better, such as:

    • Archiving old material
    • Deleting redundant files
    • Eliminating files that are superseded, out of date, or no longer pertinent
    • Defragmenting hard drives
    • Cleaning up desktops, bookmarks, unneeded links and apps

    This kind of IT maintenance should be handled by each user on a regular basis. It frees up space and makes your computers run faster by eliminating so many programs and hoops to hop through.

    Computer program and app updates

    Updates are not issued just for security purposes, although that is a significant part of updates. No, updates are issued for many reasons, including keeping the program or software current to work with new technology and other systems. Technology changes and what was once compatible may no longer be compatible. This not only makes some things better; it also can create hiccups.

    When updates come out, the alerts often provide an option to “install update later” which, if it’s an option taken too often, can open up your system to security risks, and to operational risks.

    For instance, a good example is when WordPress issues an update. Many small businesses have built their websites on a WordPress platform. The benefit to users that WordPress has become the go-to platform is in the number of other services and apps available to integrate into your website ballooning. Therein lies the blessing – and the shortcoming. When WordPress issues an update, not every other app, plugin or software integration will continue to operate properly – the connection may be incompatible.

    When updated systems and software, you have to be prepared to not just find the problems, but fix them. And that’s where the task gets hairy – and it pays to have an experienced IT professional at the ready.

    And we aren’t even talking about the security issues. No, we are talking about your ecommerce platform going haywire, or other automated processes seizing up. And, for many NuMedia clients, it’s a customer call that alerts them that a problem exists.

    And then they are battling a raging wildfire instead of a managing a controlled burn. Although our clients know they can count on us when they discover that raging fire and call us with their emergency, it’s less stress for all of us if we help with the controlled burn and provide IT maintenance services.

    When it’s time to update and maintenance a system, we know what to do, what to look for, how to adjust misalignments and prevent the wildfire – which, in small business, can mean loss of sales, customers, or opportunities. It costs time and money – more than a regular maintenance service call would have taken.

    Keeping your systems running optimally is what everyone wants – you, your IT people, and even your customers. If that is a priority for you, make sure you have a maintenance plan in place. NuMedia is available to help you with that. Call us to talk more about how we can make it happen.

     

  • Connect with your audience through digital as well as traditional methods when you want to successfully market your business or event.

    Don’t Limit Your Marketing

    Now that the computer has taken over the locus of most offices and businesses, I shouldn’t be surprised that when it comes to events and marketing, most people tend to only think of marketing online. This could be said for marketing for many businesses, not just for events, too.

    However, just because the digital age is here does not mean that traditional marketing should be neglected. In reality, all of us here at NuMedia Marketing try to remind our clients – and everyone else – that it is the combination of both that truly rounds out the marketing efforts of most successful organizations.

    Let’s talk about how to go about marketing for an organization event and how to marry together the traditional with the digital.

    Promoting an event can seem like you are trying to paint a mural with a cotton swab, but if you remember that you are trying to do two things, it will make greater sense. You are probably trying to:

    1. Drive ticket sales (or registrations)
    2. Create buzz

    Usually, you will actually be trying to do both at the same time, so you will want to make sure that your efforts are designated one or the other. In other words, if you try to do everything with one thing, your message will become diluted and confusing, which will lead to confusion in your prospect and NO SALE.

    Be clear and purposeful

    For each task, you will want to be certain your target market is clear and that you are going to be placing your information in a place where your desired audience will be.

    Try a variety of strategies:

    E-mail marketing

    Create an email for each distinct audience and purpose. In other words, compose one email for Market A that describes the event and what they will get from it, perhaps link them to the website where they can get the details. Then compose a second email for Market A with text to encourage them to register for the event. Do the same for Audience B, C, etc.

    After registration, you should send a thank you email and then a reminder before the event date. In other words, have an email marketing campaign designed and ready to launch.

    Social Media

    Create a hashtag dedicated to the event. Use it in your social media posting and encourage others to use it as well. Identifying the target audience(s) will highlight which social media platforms to use. Promote the event with engaging information, fun teasers, informational details, and, if it is a repeat event, photos, images, and videos from past events. Highlight attendees, speakers on the agenda, and special programs.

    If you are interested, this would be a place to promote the posts and/or create paid ads online.

    Now there is the ability to use Periscope, Facebook Live, and other resources such as a live tweet or a live blog. Be sure to plan ahead, announce the time and date, and have a script of what you wish to share.

    Create a dedicated website

    You will note that many big special events have their own website that includes all the information about the event down to the smallest detail. You will want this to be the hub of you online program – so be sure that any visitor can get everything they need, including purchasing tickets and/or registering. Link social media, emails, and blog posts back to this treasure of event information.

    Blog about it, guest blog, and online radio and TV

    Dedicate a couple of blogs to the event, interview past attendees, highlight speakers in interviews, and be sure to provide essential information like time, date, how to register, etc. Be a guest blogger, or a guest on local web TV or radio stations. Remember – find out where your audience is or goes – and meet them there!

    Signage, flyers, and connections

    Now let’s get into the traditional marketing of the event. Again, once you know where your audience goes, you want to have signs there that introduce them to the event and spark their interest. That means professional-looking posters with images that attract attention and print that makes it easy to read and get the message.

    Pass out flyers to all the groups you encounter, networking events, classes, talks you schedule to promote the event. Connect with your colleagues and peers to invite them and encourage them to promote the event to their following. (At this juncture there might be an incentive you can offer such as free admission, special privileges, or a promotional item.)

    You might consider direct mail marketing as well. Again, you have to know your target market to determine if this strategy is best for the circumstance.

    Depending on the size of the event, you might even consider a billboard or traditional advertising in local papers, and on the local radio and TV stations.

    Issue a press release

    It might sound really old fashioned, but press releases still get attention – as long as they get in the hands of the right people – and the news and timing are right. You will want all the information included as well as a compelling story to go with it. Name names, identify sponsors, and provide the media outlet with the contact information for the principles, as well as some images for their use. Target the distribution to the area where your target audience is located.

    The last thing you want to hear after the event is that someone is disappointed because they didn’t know anything about it. Combine your efforts to be present on digital platforms as well as traditional marketing channels. That way, you will hopefully connect with all the members of your audience.

    Your event is, no doubt, an extension of your business, which means that your brand should be reflected in the event materials and marketing strategy. Consistency is key to making the event build your brand and business.

    As we like to say here at NuMedia Marketing, ‘Branding is at the core of everything for & about your business.”

    Bring your brand, your marketing, and your strategies together for a successful endeavor!

     

  • When you clutter up the message to your clients, it is confusing.

    If You’re Overwhelmed, Think about Your Clients and Prospects!

    A sharp edge cuts through the clutter. NOTE; offset as quote

    That recent comment from Seth Godin is one that I will remember because it cuts to the heart of so many aspects of my work with clients at NuMedia Marketing and in my business for myself.

    Too often we get distracted by bells and whistles and the newest, hottest trends, that we lose sight of what really matters. Let me give you a few examples of how I see this play out for small businesses:

    Clean, concise, simple and clear

    I met with a man who had a service-based business. He also offered some items for sale on his website. He had come to me because he wanted a website that would function as both lead generation and store. We talked and visited his existing site. There was a lot there:

    • 2 different pop-ups offering free reports
    • An opt-in for subscription to a newsletter
    • 3 different videos
    • A top banner slider six different pages
    • 2 scrolling pictures with links to page
    • 8 tabs at the top, 4 of which had dropdown menus with at least 3 more options
    • Social media buttons at the top and bottom of each page
    • And pages that sometimes took 4-5 scrolls to get through
    • There were also lots of images, graphics and flashy “read more” buttons mixed in throughout

    It was a lot to look at, let alone digest. My first thought was that it was no wonder he wasn’t getting any traction from his site – his readers were overwhelmed and those that did hang around probably didn’t know what to do.

    This was the perfect application for the quote. We took a sharp edge and cut through the clutter.

    First, we identified exactly who his target market was, what he wanted to offer them and what he wanted them to do. In other words, we focused his purpose and message. We then designed a website that was simpler, cleaner, much less cluttered and clearly showed the path for his readers and prospects to take to connect with him. He was happy because he began to see results: more traffic, more purchases, and more contacts.

    Muddy waters

    I belong to a group of business owners who meet regularly. We discuss our businesses – everything from hiring to operations to product development and marketing. One of the members is a brilliant person who has many talents and great ideas. We can always count on her for suggestions and a different perspective when hashing over our own challenges.

    She has had a long history of struggling in her business. And one of the reasons is that she can do so many things for her clients. (She has agreed for me to share her story.)

    The problem is that because she CAN do so many things, she has a difficult time saying exactly what she does. She always has one more alternative, one more variation, one more suggestion. Her offerings cover such a breadth of possibilities, and her business is so diversified that she reminds me of beachwear – one size is supposed to fit all. In reality, that clothing seldom fits anyone – and she has the same problem in her business.

    She really is brilliant at most everything she does, but no one notices, or, I should say, no one pays attention to her because she has the answer for everything. She isn’t known as the specialist in any one area so she doesn’t ever stand out of the crowd. In many respects this is tied to branding your business.

    Once we, as a group, were able to get her to recognize this cloud hanging over her, she began to dive deep into what she wanted to provide and be known for. She is still working on it and letting her business evolve. The proof she is on the right track is the increase in her client list and revenues.

    Taking a sharp edge to cut through the clutter of her business has put her on a new, more successful path.

    The chatterbox

    If you look back on your school days, can you remember the person who was always chattering away? The person who never left one moment of silence slip into a conversation? I’m sure you do.

    We had a business owner come into the NuMedia offices who had that persona on his social media. He was active on several platforms, but let me just talk about Facebook. When we looked at his business page, we saw posts that included:

    • Employee notes
    • Industry articles
    • Sales and offerings from his business
    • Recipes
    • Quotes
    • Funny animals – dogs, pigs, and goats
    • Cartoons
    • Political statements
    • Event notices
    • Personal stories
    • Pictures from the office
    • Craft projects
    • Holiday greetings
    • National XXXX day notices

    That’s not all, but you get the idea. It wasn’t just that there were a lot of different types of posts, but that there 5 to 10 every day. You see why I draw the similarity between his Facebook activity and the school days chatterbox.

    He admitted he didn’t have a social media strategy or a marketing plan, he had just heard that these were all good things to share so he worked hard to make that happen.

    What happens is, just like my colleague in the last story, his business was getting lost in the noise. There is so much going on online that the digital noise is tremendous. Again, it is better to have a strategic plan that is purposeful and focused as your edge to cut through the clutter.

    We helped him develop a social media strategy and plan and now he is seeing engagement, connections, and the benefits of social media for your business.

    Are your business tools sharp?

    Do you have what you need at hand to be that sharp edge that will cut through the clutter for your business?

    I know, as a business owner and a service provider, that we can never have everything we want or need nor can we know everything that we want or need to know.

    I also know that small business people are always ready to work with other small business people. If we can help you cut through the clutter to present clean, clear, and concise information for your clients and prospects, all of us here at NuMedia are happy to help. Just contact us through our site, or call on us at 317-563-7235.

     

  • VoIP phone systems provide flexibility and cost savings for small businesses.

    Why Would a Small Business Choose a VoIP Phone System?

    If you go to the NUMedia Marketing website, one of the first things you will see is a statement that drives our process. We really believe that “first impressions count.” Because of that, when we look at the branding and marketing needs of our clients, we look at everything about the business.

    No one knows where that first encounter will happen – online at a website, face-to-face in person, over the phone, through an article or interview, or through social media. Every aspect of your business needs to reflect your brand and relate the message you wish to send.

    That’s a lot to talk about. But today, let’s talk about one aspect that not many business owners really see as an element of their branding: phones.

    You might be asking what phones have to do with branding. There are many ways that phones come into play:

    • It might sound a little snobbish, but the phone you carry makes a difference. Your cell phone doesn’t have to be the latest, newest model, but if you are using a flip phone, prospects might question whether you are up-to-date enough with technology to be able to provide the service or product they need from you.
    • If it is a problem to communicate with you via phone, prospects or clients may see red flags waving. If you often have problems such as it being difficult to hear or understand, experiencing frequently dropped calls, or not being able to leave a voice message, frustrated callers might just give up.
    • The greeting someone gets when the phone is answered makes a difference. Are your phones answered in a routine and professional manner? Or, is there a rude “what?” or generic “hello?” The impression of your business begins immediately when the phone is answered.
    • Likewise, if the call is not answered, and is referred to voicemail, what is the message the caller hears?

    Some of the problems small business owners have with phones and phone use is process development such as a standard greeting or message protocol, but another part of it is the actual phone system and equipment.

    The blending of technology and business branding

    It was exactly for these reasons that NuMedia Marketing includes VoIP phone systems in the services we offer. Blending the traditional or conventional business practices with new technology is a strategy that is woven throughout everything we do.

    A VoIP phone system may not be the best solution for all businesses, but for many it is good for business. With that in mind, we want to provide some information to give you some insight into what it is, how it works, and how it can be worthy of your consideration.

    What is VoIP and how does it work?

    VoIP is short for Voice over Internet Protocol. With a combination of hardware and software, people are able to use the internet as the medium for telephone calls. Technically, in VoIP, the voce data is sent in IP packets over the internet rather than the traditional PSTN (public switched telephone network).

    With VoIP, analog calls are converted into packets of IP data. Just like email, it is transmitted over the internet and the caller can call either analog (PSTN) landlines or cell phones. Examples of this process are Skype or Facetime.

    While you might not be able to tell whether an office is using a conventional phone system or a VoIP phone system at first glance, there are several differences that make it notable.

    Benefits of a VoIP phone system

    As I said, you might not be able to tell VoIP drives a phone system at first glance. The reason for that is that there is a phone set station on desks. The phones look very similar outwardly, but include technology that is compatible with an internet application.

    That being said, businesses benefit in three primary areas when they choose a VoIP phone system over a conventional phone system.

    Cost Savings – There are several ways that businesses save money with a VoIP phone system.

    • There are no phone lines or cabling needed, which saves installation and maintenance costs.
    • Depending on which of the many studies you read, “compared to using a PSTN line, using VoIP can potentially make you save up to 40 % on local calls, and up to 90 % on international calls.” (source: Lifewire).
    • Long distance calls are cheaper than traditional phone line calls.
    • The actual cost of the system is significantly less. In many instances, the monthly cost for a VoIP phone system can be as much as 50% less than a conventional phone system, not to mention hundreds of dollars saved on set-up fees and extra charges for features that come standard with VoIP.

    Flexibility and Mobility – The advanced technology in a VoIP phone system creates flexibility that was never before possible with business land lines.

    • VoIP can be used over wireless networks like Wi-fi.
    • Software for email, efax, and remote conferencing can be integrated into the system.
    • Auto-attendant features are available to automate call routing.
    • Adapters make it possible to take the service anywhere there is adequate internet service. That means it can go with you when you travel or in a home office.
    • When relocating the business or moving to a new location, the equipment just goes with you and is functional right away after internet service is established. There are no cables to run or installation of other equipment.
    • Call forwarding options means that VoIP phone systems continue to work if the internet goes down.

    Increased Productivity – A VoIP system provides time-saving benefits as well as streamlines meetings and office processes.

    • Headsets make VoIP phone systems easy to use.
    • Users can attach documents and send information at the same time a conversation is being held.
    • Users can conduct virtual meetings and share data via video conferencing.
    • More than two people can participate in conference calls or virtual meetings at one time.
    • Users can forward messages and voicemail to a variety or people with a click.
    • Loss of power, weather or glitches in internet service does not mean you lose VoIP phone service since forwarding protocols can be put in place that forwards calls to mobile devices.

    VoIP phone systems can bring many benefits to small businesses. And all those benefits provide a basis for you to present a consistent, reliable, and positive impression to your clients and prospects.

    Branding, marketing, and technology; NuMedia Marketing is where you get the help to put it all together to make your business better and more successful.

    Contact us today at 317.563.7235 to learn more about VoIP phone systems or how we can help you create the impression and message you want for your business.

     

  • Convert a prospect by being a GOOSE.

    Online Marketing and the Touches Needed to Convert a Prospect into a Client

    According to a recent article at SalesForce, it takes six to eight touches before anyone can convert a prospect into a viable sales lead.

    Six to eight? Yes, in fact, depending on the expert you talk with, we have heard numbers up to 10 touches. So how do you get your business in front of your prospects on a regular basis to get those six to 10 touches in place?

    One of the best places is through social media. However, connecting with prospects and likely customers in regular conversation through social media requires some planning and strategy.

    For instance,

    • You have to have a clearly defined target market – who is the person you wish to woo into a customer or client?
    • You have to know where these prospects are in terms of social media. If you offer services to other businesses, LinkedIn might be important, if you market to the individual female consumer, Pinterest might serve you well. Where you put your efforts is determined by who it is you want to reach.
    • You must understand your prospects’ needs and determine how you can satisfy those needs or exceed their expectations.

    Social media will help you stay in sight as you build a relationship with them. They might not need or want your products or services today, but next week, or next month, who knows.

    The other point is that we live in a time of accelerated visual stimuli and clutter. I recently heard say someone say that we used to use information, now we simply sort through it.

    Become the Goose

    Immediately my first thought was that in order to cut through the clutter, we have to be the GOOSE!

    Do you remember the children’s game where kids sit in a circle and one person goes around the circle tapping heads saying, “duck, duck, duck” until all of a sudden they tap someone and cry, “Goose!”? The person selected to be the Goose jumps up and chases the tapper around the circle trying to catch him before he can take the Goose’s spot in the circle.

    Today, every business needs to be the Goose that stands out from the crowd and catches all the duck’s attention. It is the Goose that the consumer wants to meet and know more about. It is through social media that you teach them who you are, what you are best at, and why they should be a part of your circle.

    Stand out to your customers

    You can stand out in a variety of ways, including:

    Your Unique Selling Point (USP). What is it that is special or unique about what you do or offer? Don’t say customer service, because that is the butt of every “what makes you special?” joke. There is something special in what service you provide or product you sell that sets you apart. Your individual story can be part of this position as well. For some, it might be that part of the proceeds are offered to a not-for-profit group (think Tom’s Shoes).

    Unique Branding. Remember the Budweiser frogs some years past or the Geico gecko? Even Flo at Progressive makes a branding statement that is easily and quickly recognized. It can be fun, touching, or a combination of other emotional triggers. No matter what, though, it makes you stand out.

    Consistent Offers. JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts and Hobby Lobby offer a 40% discount on one regular-priced item every week. Consumers count on those offers and they redeem them consistently. If you are such a consumer, you know that the one item is not all that is purchased. ROI is easy to measure there! Likewise, Dave’s American Grill offers a special for veterans on every military-centered holiday during the year – Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, and the Fourth of July.

    To convert a prospect into a customer, view it as a long-term strategy

    As you see from the examples above, in order to be truly effective, consumers have to get a consistent message over a long period of time in order to convert a prospect into a customer. The results are garnered because the plan is a long-term plan that is not thought up one day and executed the next and then you move on to the next brilliant idea.

    Consistency is important in marketing and advertising and just because you move away from traditional methods doesn’t mean you can leave the fundamental practices behind, too.

    NuMedia Marketing was shaped from the combination of traditional marketing methods and the new digital age marketing opportunities. We bridge the old with the new and we don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    You and your business are both unique and the story you present in branding and marketing has to tell that story. We can help you build marketing strategies to get you the six to 10 touches you want to see in order to convert a prospect into a long-term, loyal client. Contact NuMedia Marketing today.