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4 QUESTIONS EVERY BUSINESS SHOULD BE ASKING THIS TIME OF YEAR

Well, Fall is officially upon us and Winter is fast approaching. You know what this means – the holidays are quickly approaching as is the end of the year.  Yep, I said it; 2016 is coming to a close and 2017 will be here before we know it.  It seems like October is that magical month when businesses take a long hard look at what they’ve accomplished throughout the year, what they can wrap up in the last few months and begin planning for the new year.  So today I wanted to follow that up by sharing with you some of the questions that every business should be considering this year as it relates to a marketing strategy.

 

 

What Are Our Big Wins So Far This Year?

Think about the first 9 months.  What are the 3-4 big wins that stand out to you?  Maybe it’s a big deal that you closed or a social media marketing campaign that was very well received.  What did you accomplish that helped you or your business move closer to where you want to be?  Whatever it was, take a moment to think about why it was successful.  All too often, we get caught up in the day-to-day stuff and forget to take a step back to evaluate things.  And I’ve got news for you, if you don’t get this done in October there’s no way it’s happening in November or December.  We all know how crazy that time of the year can get, so take the time to search for those golden nuggets NOW and learn from them.

Where Did We Come Up Short?

No doubt, there will be some areas over your overall marketing plan or business strategy where you’ve fallen a bit short.  It’s much easier and more beneficial to identify those things now rather than at the end of the year.  Let me cover that again, think about and begin dealing with your shortcomings NOW rather than at the end of the year.  Sometimes we get too caught up in moving forward forward forward, that we forget to look back at things we might be able to easily fix now.  Maybe earlier in the year you were working on a website redesign and rushed things a bit when it came to the content development convincing yourself you’d come back to it later in the year.  Well, now’s that time.  Or perhaps you were thinking about getting some commercial photography work done for your new product line to update your online catalog, but just didn’t get around to it.   It’s important to identify these things now, and I will tell you why on my next point.

How Will You Make the Most of the Next 3 Months?

After taking a step back to look at your big wins and places where you fell short, think about how these things fit in with what’s left of your 2016 marketing plan.  What can you learn from these successes and setbacks so far to make the most of where you’re going next?  Your answers to these questions my change the plan moving forward.  Perhaps your original marketing budget didn’t have enough built in for social media marketing or hadn’t taken into consideration the benefits you might get from producing an online video to follow up with the one you rolled out in quarter 2 that was so successful.  While it’s always important to stay on budget, where you allocate that budget needs to always be open for review and discussion especially this late into the year.  And I’ll tell you one thing – doing things the same way you have always done them in the past is a recipe for getting left in the dust of your competition.  In other words, just because you spent X on a TV commercial or radio ad last year around the holidays and included that same budget this year doesn’t mean it’s in your best interest.

What’s The Plan for 2017?

Now that you’ve taken some time to look at the first 3/4 of the year and make sure you’re on the right track for the last quarter, it’s time to turn your attention to next year.  The good news is that by answering the first 3 questions, it will make building out your 2017 marketing strategy much easier.  Start by visualizing where you want your business to be at the beginning of the new year.  Let’s say the New Year starts off with a bang and everything is going great – what does that picture look like for your company?  Now, ask yourself that same thing about the end of the year next year.  Next it’s time to work backwards – what do you need to do to connect the dots from the most successful year beginning to the most successful year end?  Identify the mini-goals that need to be achieved along the way so you have nice, bite-sized chunks to tackle one at a time.  If you’re in the right business, answering these questions is sure to get you excited for new year.  After all, there’s no reason why it can’t be your best yet.

Answer These Questions NOW

I am going to wrap things up by echoing what I said earlier.  NOW is the time to answer these questions. I say this for 3 simple reasons:

1. It’s not too late to get back on track even if 2016 isn’t finishing the way you had hoped.

2. It’s never too early to start planning for the new year.

3. End of year/holiday craziness will soon ensue.

Need help with your strategic marketing plan?  Here’s how we can help.

Use Video Brochures to Make A Presentation Unlike Any Other.

How do you break through the clutter of the competition? This is a question we all ponder at one point or another.

In an attempt to answer this question, many marketers will say content, content, content. But what happens when it all just becomes noise?

You need a way to reach people, leave your mark and make an impression they’ll never forget. It’s not just about producing content, it’s the right content at the right time using the right medium. That’s why you need to give video brochures a try.

Focal Point Offering Video Brochures

Focal Point is now offering video brochure solutions to our clients because we see the value and the vision behind it. We understand where the marketplace is headed and believe video brochures can be impactful for sales, marketing, recruiting, training, branding, motivating, fundraising, sharing testimonials, and more.

Engaging people with both visual and audio elements through video brochures goes a long way in making it to the next step – whether that be earning a follow up appointment or bringing top talent to your team. With video brochures, recipients are able to hold, watch and listen to a company controlled message in the ideal way without a salesperson having to be present. Simply put, when done correctly video brochures can do a lot of the heavy lifting for you.

How Video Brochures Work

For the recipient – all they have to do is open it. That’s it. Just open it and they can experience the video as you intended.

For the producer – it’s a matter of creating a video, selecting a design and simply loading your video into the brochure. All stuff we can assist you with here at Focal Point.

They are completely rechargeable and reusable, meaning you can update the video as needed to match your latest marketing message. Additionally, they don’t use any complicated technology so there’s no need to worry about the video crashing. And finally, video brochures work with a Mac or PC making them very versatile for different file types.

Why Video Brochures?

Video Brochures give you a leave behind or presentation supplement that doesn’t get forgotten/thrown away. Analytic reports show viewers are sharing them with their co-workers, and most importantly, decision makers.

Whether you’re trying to win “the war in mailboxes,” secure a follow up meeting or simply reach people in a way that’s more affordable and effective than TV – video brochures could be the missing piece to your marketing puzzle.
Focal Point & Video Brochures

When working with clients, we were able to see how video brochures fit into their marketing strategies time and time again. By having the ability to produce video content for our customers, while also being about to coordinate the design presentation and functionality of delivering video brochures – adding this service just made perfect sense. It’s essentially an extension of what we are already doing for many customers, just packaged in a new, highly powerful way.

Contact Us

Considering a video brochure? We’d love to have a conversation about how this service could work for your business. Just take a moment to contact us online today!

Is networking marketing?

At FocalPoint, we think it’s fair to say networking is on the marketing spectrum. After all, it is a way to get your brand or name out there using communication.

 

The biggest difference is that unlike paid advertising, networking is impossible to control. You don’t know what is being said about you or your company – or where your business card or a friend’s text may end up. Could be deleted or thrown out. Could be put to good use. Who knows?

 

Of course, there is always a chance that it could lead to a key contribution to your work, or can impact someone else in your network, or become a customer by virtue of their sphere of influence, network, or present job. And yes, they could also screw things up for whomever you connect them to, reflecting badly on you.

 

Most importantly, networking outside your usual planes has the potential to broaden your knowledge, gain new perspectives in life and business, and maybe help open doors for someone simply needing help to build a new opportunity. We’d say that’s well worth the effort.

How Hot Will Your Brand Be Tomorrow?

The hottest newest brand or brands attract a lot of consumer and media attention. When they’re hot. But whatever is hot today is rarely still hot next quarter.

 

Updates, fads and trends are coming faster and more frequently.

 

That’s why former hot brands like Dell soon get crushed by Microsoft. And Microsoft gets toppled by Apple. And Blackberry moves out of favor as iPod comes on the scene, and so on.

 

At FocalPoint, we think there is a lesson in all of this for the rest of us. As soon as a hot brand becomes exceptional, it’s hard to grow, move ahead and make changes. Why? Because the ‘wow’ is working too well for you at that moment, and it’s hard not to drink your brand Kool-Aid.

 

We think brand evolution and flexibility are the best responses to the ever-changing, fast-paced competitive marketplace. So we work with our clients to continually improve our client’s brand. Even when it’s hot. This is particularly true in today market.  I just came from a speaking event where the subject was in part how the product lifecycle has changes and you really do need to be reinventing your product or service while it is still a hot commodity.

 

We want to be sure our clients’ positioning re-earns attention and re-connects in new ways so it stays in line with what’s important to their customers.

 

We make it a point not to drink any brand’s Kool-Aid here.

Big picture. Small steps

Spearheading a new product launch or marketing initiative? Although all of us understand change is ubiquitous and needed, it does seem to be in our very nature to resist it. And that we all do, in big ways and small.

If the marketing launch you are undertaking is massive, here at FocalPoint, we recommend taking small steps from the gate. Here’s what we mean:

For instance, separating communication about the initiative from action. Start by outlining what’s changing and provide a clear “why.” Customers, staff, senior advisers and folks on down the line – even the voice in your head – all need that.

Follow that first step by parsing out a series of additional ‘bite-sized’ steps, and attach a dateline to each. This way, you can provide those in your organization with a chance to taste success one step at a time, and build confidence along the way.

Every couple of weeks, provide a status update and remind your team (and your customers, as appropriate) of the big picture.

Breaking any big marketing change down into smaller elements while keeping the big picture in mind can help everyone in your organization appreciate the ultimate goal, gain positive momentum and contribute to its ultimate success.

Does Facebook Live Make Sense for Your Business?

Should your business use Facebook Live?

That’s a good question.  And one that I am going to help you answer.

I have talked in the past about live video streaming services such as Periscope and Meerkat.  But what many of these channels don’t have that Facebook does is a large audience for your business.  Especially the small to medium sized businesses.

Why Facebook Live Is Important

If you have been doing any type of social media marketing over the past few years, odds are you have spent time and money growing your Facebook brand page.  Well, just this month Facebook started making its Live feature available to ALL brand pages (previously it was just celebrities and larger companies like Mashable) which means you now have a new way to reach your audience.  And it’s not just a new way, it’s a way that gets 3X the amount of engagement vs. regular posts.

Needless to say, Facebook Live isn’t something to ignoreBut is it something that makes sense for your Internet marketing strategy?

Should You Invest Resources In It?

If your business or brand hosts events, then the answer is yes.  If your company is in the business of news, then the answer is yes.  Or if you are the “spokesperson” for your brand or business, then the answer is yes.

Beyond that, I think it’s up for debate.  As with anything, just because the technology exists doesn’t mean you should use it.  Where I think Facebook Live can really be an asset is when it’s utilized as an extension of something you are already doing.

For example, let’s say you regularly answer FAQs from your clients/potential clients on social media and your website.  Well, Facebook Live can enable you to offer a more personalized, unique way to answer these questions.  Now you’re not just providing an answer in text, you’re doing it on video, LIVE, where the user can see your face and understand your expressions.

What I am getting at is the point that Facebook LIVE is a great way to HUMANIZE your business.  It’s not rehearsed.  It’s not over-produced.  It’s real people connecting with real people and as the saying goes, “people buy from people, not companies.”  So if adding the “human” element is something that makes sense with your brand/online marketing strategy, then I think it’s worth attempting.

WTHR Facebook Live

Facebook Live Example

Let’s take WTHR for example.  You see personalities like Angela Buchman and Chuck Lofton on the air, but do you feel like you really KNOW them?  You may know a scripted version of this weather team, but using Facebook Live WTHR can share what goes on behind the scenes.  How storm systems are REALLY analyzed, what the temperature is like in the studio, what news reporters have for “breakfast” when breakfast is a 2 AM.  To sum it up, you learn about the PEOPLE behind what you see on screen.  And more often than not, those are the ones viewers really feel connected to.

The image is a screen shot from one of WTHR’s Facebook Live broadcasts.  In 6 minutes, they had 1.5K viewers and over 100 comments.  By the end of the broadcast, it was more than 3K views and 3oo comments.  This was nearly 40% more than anything else they posted on their page for the week.  Sure, they are in the business of news and have the on-air talent, obviously, but if you have any type of audience on social media – the same engagement rules apply.

Here’s The Deal With Facebook Live For Business

Look, live video isn’t anything groundbreaking, or new.  And it’s definitely not something for every business.  Maybe less than half of the businesses out there.  But I do think Facebook Live deserves some attention.  Why?  Because it is Facebook.

Until now, other live streaming services just haven’t had the audience or ease of use that I think Facebook has.  I believe it’s already the core part of most people’s online marketing strategies and adding a new feature to that is way more useful than the thought of taking on another social network.

Needless to say, in order to make Facebook Live (or any type of video for that matter) work, you need to have the right people on camera.  If your CEO or President is incredibly boring in real life and doesn’t come off well in a video – then going live on Facebook might be a complete disaster.

On the other hand, if your CEO is charismatic and has a great story to tell or isn’t afraid to jump on camera to answer questions from customers in real-time, then Facebook Live could be an awesome tool to add to your online marketing strategy.  I’ll leave you with this…

The other big opportunity with Facebook Live is that hardly any businesses are doing it right now.  Sure, it’s new and newness will wear off.  But when it comes to social media marketing and online marketing in general – aren’t we all looking for a way to break through the noise?  Especially a way to do it that doesn’t cost us marketing dollars??   Well, right now, this IS the way.

Need Help?

Focal Point can help with your Internet marketing strategy.  We can help you determine if tools such as Facebook Live are right for you.  Contact us online today!

*Photo of The Rock from TechCrunch