Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Innovation vs. Stagnation

If you’re honest with yourself regarding your company, you might find that you focus more on maintaining the status quo, i.e. stagnation, than on flexing your business with the current needs of your marketplace, i.e. innovation.

Let’s begin with your company image.

You have a logo that you love. You are very attached to this logo. It cost you a pretty penny when it was first created. It has brand recognition value, this is true, but is it relevant to today? Do the colors give the right message? Is the font appropriate for your brand message?

How about your storefront or website.

Take a good hard, critical look at them both. Do they convey the quality that’s within? Or do they look old and tattered or like Uncle Ralph was your main designer?

Is your message clearly stated?

When someone enters your store or website, can they easily tell what the features and benefits of your product selection are? Are you giving a confusing message by cluttering up your store or website with competing vendor messages or POP displays? This can happen on websites as well as in brick-and-mortar stores.

Are you ahead of the curve – or behind the 8-ball?

If gray is the new black, do you communicate this to your customers. Can they tell just from looking at your store or website that you offer the latest goods and services? Or are your products or services “old school” and outdated.

Do you pay the price for Innovation?

The new and trendy can cost more, but in the long run they can be the difference between being remembered or being forgotten and passed over for businesses that appear to be more aware of what’s going on in the current marketplace.

Can you take risks for your customers?

If you are too worried about the price of innovation or following trends you will be left behind by your customers. It only takes one negative experience, and particularly in the case of websites, to lose a potentially new customer, or bore an old customer so much that they leave and go to the new-kid-on-the-block.

Innovation = relevance. Stagnation = obsolescence.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Who ARE You Anyway?!

Have you ever asked yourself "Who AM I" or better yet..."What IS my Business Really Selling"?

Not asking the questions below can lead to brand confusion and mixed messages for your potential customers.

Questions To Ask:

1. What am I offering clients or what am I selling to customers? Is it an "experience" or a superior product or service that they really need?

2. What do my customers think I'm offering?

3. What differentiates my business offering from my competitors?

4. Does my logo communicate what my business is really all about?

5. Is my business unforgettable?

6. Do I get repeat customers or do people buy from me once and never come back. If that's the case, why aren't they loyal?

7. Is my business flexing with the changes in the consumer marketplace? Or am I offering goods and services that are no longer in demand?

Then after you get the answers to these questions ask yourself:

1. What do I need to do to clarify my brand's message?

2. What can I do to make sure people KNOW that my company exists? Is this something I can tackle myself or do I need an expert?

3. Will redesigning my brand visuals help solidify my brand message? If yes, who should do this (NOT your Uncle Ralph!)

ASK Questions & SUCCEED

Asking questions can help you refocus your efforts and continue to be competitive in our ever-changing marketplace. Those who are unwilling to flex and "go with the flow" will not succeed and may eventually go out of business all together.

And we ALL know that's not a "Good Thing"!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Fishing for Customer Personas

Begin At The Beginning

First things first...if you're trying to reach new markets, step back and begin by first identifying exactly "WHO" your current and potential customers are, and then make a list of your customer "Personas".

It's A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood...Won't You Be My Neighbor?

Next, take the time during this discovery phase, to "become each Persona" and enter their online "Neighborhood". Find out where they hang-out online, the ways in which they interact with each other, the things that are most important to them, the language they use to talk to each other (most important!) and use this information to create a "Master Keyword List" for each "Persona".

Just Hangin' Out!

In addition, make lists for each Persona of their favorite Hang-Outs, for future reference, which will prove invaluable when you begin initiating your first contact with potential strategic partners.

Gone Fishing

Now that you think you know who you're trying to bring into your site or your client's site, you have a working list of potential ways to draw them in.

Think of online marketing as you would "Fishing".

The "Fish" are your various "Customer Personas". The "Lures" are the keywords and keyword phrases they favor most.

Now the fun begins...no really!

A VERY Competitive Sport

Just like "Fishing" in the real world, SEO is a competitive sport and only those who practice their Art daily will win for their clients or their own site.

The reason for this fast pace is that just as you are working hard to bring in the "Big Fish", so are your savvy competitors, who may have just hired someone just like you who knows how to engage in "Competitive SEO".

Some online marketers may find this exhausting...but if you have even a tiny shred of competitiveness hidden deep down in your personality, you'll end up loving the daily challenge.

David Beats Goliath

And what could be better than to run your Keyword Tests and find that you have just trounced a BIG company with a major budget, just by identifying your consumers' interests and creating content that resonates with the inner persona of your potential customers.

But be forewarned...this victory dance will not last.

Tomorrow...Tomorrow...I Love You Tomorrow...You're Only A Day Away!

Tomorrow is another day, and tomorrow you must begin again to out-think, out-smart and out-last the competition.

Enjoy the Game & Play To Win!