Category Archives: Marketing

Trade Show Tips and Tricks Part II

A few weeks ago I attended the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market Show in Salt Lake City with a client.

Outdoor Retailer Summer Market

The show had me thinking of some more tips for attending a trade show as an exhibitor. Here they are!

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I am My Worst Customer

I often joke that marketers – especially those who are also small business owners – are our own worst customers.

During the course of any given week, I give my clients all kinds of marketing and sales advice:
– Post daily on social channels. Post content that is valuable to your followers, not you.
– Have a marketing plan.
– Set sales goals.
– Be consistent.
– The list goes on…

Funny thing is, I am terrible at taking my own advice. In fact, I am my own worst customer.

I like to tell myself that I’m too busy to do certain things, like blog regularly, but the truth might be something scarier. Maybe I’m afraid. Afraid that my advice won’t work when applied to my own business. Afraid it will work and I won’t know what to do when it’s time to expand Tinderbox Consulting.

Those things you aren’t doing in your business, are you not doing them because you’re afraid? If it’s because you’re too busy, that’s a good thing. Find someone to do the things you’re too busy to do. Even if it means you hire an employee, or contract with someone like me. Just don’t sacrifice best practices on account of being cheap, lazy, or afraid.

 

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Taking Care of Business

What do you consider to be marketing? When you tell your friends and family that you’re starting a new business? When you open for business and there’s a write-up in the local business journal?

Many things small business owners and entrepreneurs do are considered marketing. It’s just that, all too often, they don’t realize or consider that what they are doing is actually marketing, so they don’t do them well. They don’t develop a good pitch for their business. They don’t send a press release to announce their grand opening.

Even the sign on your door is considered marketing. I’m not talking about the sign on the street that you paid umpteen thousand dollars to have put up. I’m talking about the sign you hand wrote in sharpie on a neon green piece of paper and taped to the front door of your retail location to display the store hours. This is marketing! Those afterthought things we do as small business owners and entrepreneurs are, in fact, marketing. If we don’t do them well, we aren’t taking care of business. Our business.

Tinderbox Consulting

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Marketing research is great, but…

Often, marketing professionals talk about research. What’s the perfect market for our service? How will the market respond to our product? Who is the most likely to visit our store? What are the competitors doing and how are they doing it?

The results of the research can be enlightening, discouraging, or a variety of other adjectives. The question still remains: what do you do once you have the research?

Tinderbox Marketing Research

Research – just like marketing plans and business plans – is useless unless put into practice. If you’ve narrowed down the perfect demographic to target with your marketing, you have to actually market to them.

The key part of the research should include where your audience is living, and how they engage in those spaces. Whether it’s on social channels or in real-world environments, your target demographic has characteristics. Your research should be teaching you all about those things so you can communicate more effectively.

But the key will always be  in doing. Research is useless without action.

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The Small Business Express Podcast

image001A few weeks ago, I was blessed to be the first guest interview on the podcast The Small Business Express. My friend Mike Monroe, along with Gary Shouldis, are packing the podcasts full of great information for small business owners. Definitely worth downloading, and the best part is that the podcasts are free.

The topic for the particular podcast is how to have success on Twitter in 15 minutes a day. My favorite part is Mike’s disclaimer when introducing me, “..he is a very fast talker, for those of you that have never spoken with Josh or don’t know Josh. But definitely worth listening to cause he packed a lot of really great information in very short period of time.”

I feel very honored to have be interviewed by these two gentlemen.

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Lessons Learned from Church Name Tags

Have you ever been to a church where all the (regular) congregation members had on name tags? Did you have a name tag too? If not, did they offer you a ‘Guest’ tag?

1428915_19697637I was at a large meeting the other day, and as name tags and Sharpies were going around for us, someone mentioned that her church has name tags for everyone. My first thought: that church has name tags for everyone except for first timers. My second thought was a question: how many times does someone have to attend before they are given a name tag?

In this situation, name tags equal exclusivity. Even if that’s not the message this church intends to send, it’s the message that’s likely being received. If I was new to church and the whole God thing, I’d be freaked out if the church I decided to visit was full of people wearing name tags. I’d be even more freaked if they wanted me to wear a ‘Guest’ name tag.

Does your business unintentionally create exclusivity? If exclusivity is created intentionally, that’s one thing. But if you’re a small business, you probably can’t afford to be exclusive. You definitely can’t afford to create barriers for new customers. Entry – to your website, or your brick and mortar location, or your LinkedIn group – should be easy and with as few barriers as possible.

Otherwise, it may seem like you’re just another social clique.

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10 Trade Show Tips and Tricks

A few weeks ago, I went to the Shot Show with a client. Before I get into the tips for a successful

KH&JK@Shot2014

trade show, let me start by saying WOW! The Shot Show was by far the biggest show I’ve attended. I know that shows like CES are bigger (I’ve never been), but this was almost overwhelming.

Anyway, while I was at the Shot Show, I noticed that a lot of the vendors didn’t seem to have a clue as to how to run their booth. Based on that, I thought I’d come up with a list of tips for those who are willing to admit they can use some help.

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How to Get Buy In

This morning, I’m working on building a marketing team for a church. I’ve been staring at blank emails trying to figure out how to get others to buy in, without sounding lame.

But that’s the trick right? How do you get others excited about something they might have no interest in being excited about?

The answer is something that looks you in the face every time you’re on Facebook or Twitter: transparency and authenticity. Good social media content is transparent and is written by and sounds like a human.

So, in trying to recruit a team, I’m honest about my intentions, their expected time commitment, as well as my level of enthusiasm. Additionally, I write it in my real tone of voice. Nothing made up or contrived. Just transparent and real.

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Expiration Dates

Everything has an expiration date, well except maybe true love and Jesus. Your job is to be prepared for the time when your marketing and/or sales efforts expire.

Whether it’s Facebook or LinkedIn, certain tools you use to help grow your business will no longer be effective. However, instead of holding on to those tools like their precious resources, you should have a succession plan in place.

What does a succession plan look like? It’s really just a marketing plan. Understanding your company, your target, and your why, will give you the foundation you need to be successful marketing on whichever platform makes sense for your business.

Having this solid marketing foundation will help your business adapt to any changes in the marketing sphere. The key is to always be paying attention to where your target spends their time. So, understanding your target becomes invaluable. Once you truly understand your target demographic, you can easily move channels with them.

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No Magic Pills

There are very few magic pills in marketing. Marketing your business, like anything else, comes with almost no guarantees.

Social media is often viewed as a magic pill – a fix everything marketing solution that will magically bring in customers. Social sites like Facebook and Twitter have done a lot of good, and in some ways, leveraged the playing field for small businesses. Still, they aren’t guaranteed.

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