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Posts Tagged ‘best practices’

Brainstorming is a critical part of any creative process, whether you are writing copy or creating your next big product. Once defined as simply a collaboration of ideas, the term has since transformed into any sort of creative planning, no matter if it is done in a group or independently.

To come up with creatively written solutions to your marketing dilemmas you don’t need to be an expert copywriter or even consider yourself a writer at all. You just need to consider some basic techniques of brainstorming to get your juices flowing.

Prepare Rough Ideas
Even though the bulk majority of your brainstorming may happen in a group setting it is still important for you to come to the group with some thoughts and ideas ready to go. This applies to everyone involved in the group brainstorming session. The ideas generated during freethinking are your own and free from outside influence.

Jot down any idea that comes to mind. Key word here is any. The goal isn’t to come up with a fully developed idea right from the start but to build toward something with free flowing ideas. Take a look at your preliminary ideas and you will have a better understanding of what works and doesn’t work before you attempt the group brainstorm.

Get Others Involved
Brainstorming sessions focused on business writing do not have to be exclusive to copywriters. They should involve anyone who can provide valuable input. Graphic designers are a good example. Chances are that your copy will need graphical representation to tie it all together. Customer Support staff and the sales department are groups that interact with customers on a daily basis, so they can offer a different and unique perspective on what the customers are saying. Listening to different ideas and input can help bring out the best in your writing.

Use Word Association
This technique involves brainstorming lists of words and then finding similarities between the key words on each list. For example, imagine that you want to create a new slogan for a software product focused on online collaboration. You could start with the root word “collaboration” and use word association to come up with a list of ideas such as “ideation” or “improved productivity.” Then you could brainstorm another list beginning with “productivity.” In the end, you might have five or six lists of ideas based on word association. One way to build your slogan would be to choose one word from each of the lists and find a creative way to link them together.

Pose an Initial Question
Suppose you had created a product for small to medium-sized businesses and were looking for a new way to approach marketing the product. You can start a brainstorming session by posing a single question such as “What is it that small to medium-sized business owners are looking for?” Participants would throw out ideas such as “to increase sales” or “to save time and money.” Another option would be to select a specific feature of your new product and open with a question about it. “How does this specific feature help small to medium-sized business owners?” The idea is to get the conversation started so that you can outline ideas or common themes.

Use Your Senses
When you discuss a product or a service in your copy, you’re not just trying to highlight information, you’re trying to invoke an emotional response. One of the most effective ways to do this is to use sensory imagery in your copywriting. We all know that our Product X is the most powerful product of its kind but how does it feel? Can you hear it, and if so, what does it sound like?

Make a list of all the sensory aspects of your product or service and search for words or phrases that produce a particular emotional response. Utilizing a sensory technique with your copywriting will allow you to see your product or service in a completely new light.

Allow Wild Ideas
It is important to suspend criticism during brainstorming sessions. All ideas, no matter how crazy or ludicrous they may seem, should be encouraged and recorded without comment or criticism from the group. The general goal of brainstorming is to collect as many ideas as possible. Quantity is much more important quality during this stage of the process.

Utilize Mind-Mapping
Considered one of the most classic approaches of all, mind mapping involves putting a goal in the center of a piece of paper or board, then branching outward into subtopics. The goal is to create as many subcategories as possible as well as any associated ideas that spring out from them. This technique is one of the best ways to capture your thoughts and bring them to life in visual form.

Save Rejected Ideas
Yes! You’ve gone through the brainstorming process and have picked the one idea to develop further and solve your specific business need. Problem is, you still have many more great ideas and concepts that end up going unused. Make sure to save these unused ideas. You never know when they might be put to good use at a later date or when they might serve as a basis for inspiration involving another great idea. At the beginning of a new brainstorming session, consider pulling out the list of rejected ideas and choosing a couple of them to get the ball rolling.  This could be especially helpful if you are having a difficult time getting started with ideas.

These are just a small sample of the hundreds, if not thousands, of different brainstorming techniques that can be applied to help generate creative business writing ideas. The end goal is to help you create inventive copy that attracts customers to your business. How you get there is completely up to you so try them out and find what works best for you and your team. For additional marketing tips from our team look here.

If you have any techniques that you have applied and found extremely useful, let us know in the comments section below.

Graphic Source: www.highstakesliving.com

Social Media for Tradeshows

Due to ever evolving advancements in technology and techniques, businesses, large and small alike, can now market to literally thousands of consumers without ever meeting face-to-face. However, marketing practices like trade shows, conferences and seminars have withstood the test of time.

In-person events highlight the physical aspects of marketing – like the much needed personal interaction with clients and potential customers. Aisle upon aisle of relevant vendors and eager attendees can provide you with an arsenal of new leads and connections. While trade shows are more physical in nature, implementing a social media strategy in coordination with your trade show activities will allow you to maximize your presence before, during and after the event.

Pre-show Activities

1. Utilize the official hashtag for the event. Start following the hashtag several weeks prior to the event to discover trends and connect with key players. When tweeting about the event, be sure to use the assigned hashtag.

2. Go ahead and create a hashtag specific to your company or trade show campaign. Attaching your hashtag to the official event hashtag will increase the exposure your company will receive when posting on Twitter.

3. Use social media to announce a promotion, contest, special hospitality event or giveaway for the event. You can create a teaser video or announce a secret code word that attendees will need for a prize or entry into a drawing. A simple tie in to your social media accounts can create significant buzz and increase traffic to your booth during the event.

4. Reach out to LinkedIn connections and personally invite them. Invite them to stop by your booth or to lunch, dinner, or an after-hours event while there.

5. Connect with trade specific media contacts and ask them to set up a meeting, stop by your booth to discuss a new product or attend a session you are hosting. Responding to tweets, retweeting posts and commenting on blogs are simple ways to engage media contacts.

During the Show Activities

6. Tradeshows and conferences are busy, so take advantage of scheduling some tweets and Facebook posts in advance. This could be particularly helpful if you are presenting on a topic at a specific time. You can schedule tweets about key talking points both before and during the presentation.

7. Use Facebook and Twitter as real-time news feeds for delivering up-to-the-minute content, photos and videos. Constant updates can provide valuable information to those people who cannot physically be there.

8. Include social media icons, web addresses, QR codes, and calls-to-action to your social networks in your booth display.

9. Offer attendees additional contest entries if they like your Facebook page or follow you on Twitter and LinkedIn.

10. Announce contest winners through your social media platforms. Advertise that the winner will be published on your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages and then have the winners come back to your booth to get their prize. Snap a photo of them with their prize and post it as well.

Post-show Activities

11. Create a quick event wrap-up and post it socially. Make sure to thank everyone for stopping by your booth or seminar session at the event.

12. Continue the conversation by writing a blog post about your participation in the show. You can focus on seminar discussions, common themes at the event or your overall experiences. Promote your post via social channels.

13. Connect with new prospects using LinkedIn’s premium feature called InMail. In the days following an event, valuable prospects often end up dealing with an email inbox that is flooded with messages from sales reps and marketers from the show. Stand out from the crowd by using LinkedIn InMail.

You can connect with any LinkedIn user with InMail, regardless of your previous history with them. Users will be notified of the new message with a LinkedIn alert email and more likely to read and respond to your InMail than they would a standard email.

14. Ensure that any email follow-up with your leads and connections includes links to all of your social media accounts.

These are just a handful of ideas to make your next event more social. Coordinate social media and trade shows or other events to stretch marketing efforts and drive increased exposure, more leads, and extensive networking opportunities.

Need help with your event or social media strategies? Contact Launch Marketing today! Be sure to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook to keep up with the latest B2B marketing tips and trends.

Graphic Source: http://www.skylinetradeshowtips.com/

Here we are, seven months in to the year. How do you feel about your marketing plan? How are your marketing programs looking? Are you consistently providing good leads to your sales team? Are you feeling overwhelmed by your goals and slightly underwhelmed by your production?

As part of a marketing firm, the title of this blog probably doesn’t surprise you, but there are definitely two sides to the “should I” or “shouldn’t I” question. Let’s start off with a few reasons why you should not hire a marketing firm.

First, don’t expect a marketing firm to immediately correct your marketing if your product or service lacks clarity. Next, a marketing firm cannot generate more clients if you don’t have sound sales methodologies in place. Finally, you should not hire a marketing firm if you plan to hand off the marketing and completely disconnect yourself from the process.

Hiring a marketing firm is a big commitment, but typically one that is worth the effort. To maximize effectiveness, the engagement needs to be a two-way street where both parties are involved, attentive and strategic. Here are a few reasons why you should consider hiring a marketing firm.

You need a bona fide marketing strategy.
Working with a firm should involve creating a solid foundation built on strategy before implementing campaigns and tactics aimed at generating leads. The time and effort put toward marketing will never build momentum until you lock in on the triggers that cause your audience to act.

You are finding resource gaps.
Let’s face it. In the IT start-up world, we all wear multiple hats and often find ourselves spread thin. Sure, you can set up a newsletter, manage social media profiles, and update the website, but these may prevent you from focusing on tasks that are more directly tied to generating revenue. Let the marketing firm take tasks off your plate and simultaneously make them a priority.

You need a variety of skill sets.
A good marketing firm will take time to understand you and your business goals and apply their skills accordingly. When you engage a marketing firm, you are tapping into a broad set of resources. It is always recommended to do your due diligence during your search but most firms will have a person or a team dedicated to disciplines such as strategy, graphic design, writing, web and social media. Instead of hiring one person focused on one specialty, you’re enlisting a team of experienced professionals who can do it all. You also get the advantage of leveraging best practices and ideas they’ve put in place that have worked successfully for other companies.

You understand that creativity is invaluable.
While many of us may have MBA-level knowledge and insight, we may lack the ability to translate that knowledge and insight in a way that speaks to our customer. Enter the marketing firm. They understand that the purpose of your marketing is to brand your business with a message that supports your company’s goals while building and nurturing leads. A good marketing firm is packed with creative minds that are skilled at crafting targeted messaging and design pieces to distribute your message.

You need to adjust your priorities.
Sadly, many business owners tend to be fixated on website traffic and social media “likes” when their main focus should be on conversions. Having the consultative guidance of a marketing firm will help you focus on the needed adjustments and activities that will have your conversions trending upwards.

At the end of the day, the big question shouldn’t be, “Can I afford an experienced marketing firm?” but rather: “How much am I costing myself in time, money and lost opportunity by trying to do this in-house?” Allow yourself to focus on mission critical tasks and let the marketing experts assist in guiding your business to the next level.

Have additional questions about working with a marketing firm or our services? Contact Launch Marketing today! Be sure to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook to keep up with the latest B2B marketing tips and trends.

Graphic Source: www.bcff.org

You’ve Launched a Website. Now What?

July 16th, 2015 by Jeff Mangels

Website Launch

Congratulations! You’ve launched your new website with engaging content and a modern design that everyone loves. Launching a website is a big deal and can be very time consuming. We should know; we launch a lot of websites.

It’s time to sit back and watch crowds of people flood your website and leads fill your inbox, right?

I’m afraid that you are going to be quite disappointed if you are banking on the philosophy of “build it and they will come.” Your launch is just beginning.

You’ve heard it before: to grow your business and overall presence online, you’ll need to get busy marketing. Yes, hard to believe, isn’t it? If you take an active role in marketing your website, you’ll build momentum and see a faster return on your investment. Here are a few simple tips to help you do that.

Create a content plan
Creating a content plan and editorial calendar will help you stay focused on generating regularly scheduled relevant and relational material for your website. More specifically, content for your blog. Blogging regularly is one of the best ways to engage with your site’s visitors and maintain their interest.

Think of your blog as a platform to promote your search ranking. When someone searches for industry specific content and you have written about it, you stand a greater chance of appearing within the search results. Consistent, fresh and relevant content keeps your audience informed and reinforces your position as a thought leader in your field.

Incorporate social media
There’s a huge crowd roaming the social media landscape consuming all of the information that is posted. Promote your blog and other interesting content on your social media networks. This not only creates opportunities to drive visitors to your website, but it allows those who are interested to follow you and share it with others.

On the flipside, be sure to link to your social properties from your website as well.

Consider SEO and website analytics
Begin with your SEO. You can tackle the low-hanging fruit by addressing individual website pages. Set your titles, keywords and descriptions for each page. If you’re not taking the time to let people know who you are by your descriptions, they will be less likely to pay attention to your website.

Next, make sure that you have Google Analytics installed on your website. You’ll be able to track how many visitors your site receives, visitor behavior, how long they stayed and website traffic sources. These types of insights can help you determine what visitors are looking for, how to keep them on your site longer, and ultimately how to turn them into clients.

Refresh and update your website
Consider the maintenance of your website like that of your car. With your car, you get the oil changed regularly and do major tune-ups at recommended intervals. Your website is going to need the same type of upkeep and attention. Keywords, title tags, and content copy can become outdated. If your business is in a fast changing industry like technology, insurance or medicine, your website content may need to be updated even more frequently so set your update schedule accordingly.

Take a few hours each month to go through your website and review your content. Have there been new developments have caused content to be outdated? Perhaps you have some content on your blog that needs to be updated with a “Part 2.” Take advantage of changes within your industry to keep your audience informed.

Looking for assistance with marketing and promoting your website? Contact Launch Marketing today! Be sure to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook to keep up with the latest B2B marketing tips and trends.

Graphic Source: www.massagemag.com