Keeping up with Creativity

Strategy Plan One

September 9, 2012

Creativity

We have all been there.  Planning, writing, blogging, tipping and then we hit the wall with no creativity left to continue.  Seems to happen frequently with some, while others never seem to have a problem cranking out volumes of interesting, valuable information.

As an entrepreneur, executive or specialized staff working in an organization, you need to keep up with your creative edge.  Creativity helps you and your business stay on the leading edge as it is applicable to so many facets of business.  Business plans, marketing plans, product and service offerings, campaigns, projects, methods, processes … all require a significant degree of creativity to make things stand out.  Creativity takes plans, products, and processes to the next innovative level, sometimes leading to a competitive advantage over the competition’s standards.

Here is a brilliant infographic from Copyblogger, that illustrates some major creative blocks and how to bust out of them to maintaining your high level of creativity.

Creativity

Source:  Copyblogger

Summarizing some tips to bring out your best creativity:

  • Maintain creativity as a priority in your business and personal development
  • Take a breather – writers can face exhaustion; take a break mentally and physically and watch creativity come back
  • Jump on some ideas after researching, reading and analyzing others’ work
  • Take mental notes of objects, scenarios and people in your environment and how it relates to your topic (you will be surprised at the content you can create from this)
  • Diet – the brain needs nutrients; many studies have show that healthy diets fuel the brain
  • Ask a colleague for input, ideas, co-authoring (will generate ideas and content that you would add on to others)
  • Colors can activate creativity; tune into, focus on colors
  • Sound can create a response in you
  • Confidence – high level of confidence and you will be always ready to go
  • Don’t get stuck in perfection; no one is perfect
  • Don’t feel your work isn’t valuable as your work can have a significant impact on 1 person, 100 people, or a massive crowd
  • General rule – quality is always best; don’t feel pressured to pump out massive volumes of material
  • Set up a schedule of focused time; distractions and not getting organized can cause stress which causes mental blocks

More on creativity:

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Strategy Plan One

http://strategyplanone.com

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Social Media – Getting Organized With a Task List

Strategy Plan One

August 11, 2012

Social Media – Task List

Do you have a new or existing business and feeling overwhelmed with trying to keep up with all the activities you feel you need to accomplish, on the multitude of social media platforms?  You may not be alone as there are endless activities you could complete, in a swirling universe of social media, all for different reasons and objectives.

Here in this infographic is an example of what The Whole Brain Group classifies as a “Sensible Social Media Checklist” of activities.

social media - task list

 

Source:  The Whole Brain Group 

Social Media Marketing

So what’s in your social media strategy?  What do you plan to tackle on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.  The above infographic gives us a glimpse of something that may work for one company.  Ensure you plan out your social media strategy and activities.  Test out and measure your efforts.  Constantly be looking to improve and revise your strategy and activities for better results.  Make it applicable to your business and to the way you engage and communicate with your customers.

In developing your social media plan:

  1. Establish your objectives
  2. Investigate methods to communicate and engage your customers
  3. Develop some options for marketing activities
  4. Determine social media platforms that would be applicable 
  5. Develop a plan of social media activities  (social media task list)
  6. Estimate the marketing budget
  7. Implement, test, measure, analyze
  8. Revision and continuous improvement for better results

 

Here are some additional Social Media articles, blogs and infographics:

More business blogs of interest:

 

Strategy Plan One

http://strategyplanone.com

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

 

Social Media Impacts on Small Business [infographic]

Strategy Plan One

August 4, 2012

Social Media and Small Business

Small businesses face a significant uphill battle in these economic times to engage and communicate with consumers.  Marketing and communications have vastly changed over the past few years, and with the add-on of social media as a tool, measurable benefits and trends are occurring with the small business sector.

This informative graphic from Bolt Insurance highlights the following small business and social media statistics and trends:

  • 81% of small business use social media to get their message out and engage with customers
  • 95% use email marketing
  • 98% of small business engage in website marketing
  • 62% of businesses not using social media will plan to in the next year
  • 81% that currently use social media will step up efforts in the next year

Top challenges small businesses face according to this survey:

  • 80% claim attracting new customers are the biggest challenge
  • 52% state obtaining referrals as the greatest issue
  • 41% of small business would like to squeeze and maximize results with marketing dollars 

Social media effectiveness:

  • 82% state Facebook as the most effective social media platform
  • 73% of respondents say YouTube most effective
  • 47%  LinkedIn 
  • 47% claim Twitter is the most effective social media site

View some more interesting statistics in the infographic below.

small business marketing

 

Courtesy: Bolt Insurance

As an entrepreneur / small business, it is advantageous to stay on track with developing trends and to design products and services that not only meets current customer demand, but also future consumer needs.  Review and analyze marketing conditions and trends, and plan accordingly.

Here are some additional Social Media articles, blogs and infographics:

More business blogs of interest:

 

Strategy Plan One

http://strategyplanone.com

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Business Tips – Maximize Performance and Business Development Results

Strategy Plan One

August 1, 2012

business tips Business Tips for the Entrepreneur

As you are midstream through harsh economic times, take the time to reflect on your current business operations.  Think about the small things that could be tweaked that can have the maximum positive impact on your business.  Here are some helpful business tips to maximum the output in your organization and in your business development.

Business Tips – Maximize the Use of Your Time

Time is definitely considered an asset when you are a busy, mult-taking entrepreneur.  Delegate operational tasks to staff and area specialists as much as you possible can.  Free up your time for business management functions, business development, planning and implementation.  Institute shorter, more concise meetings and communications as much needed time savers for all.  Cut the slack time and concentrate efforts in a condensed shorter period.  Incorporate that into individual and team goals.

Establish Priorities

Clutter can occur in many ways from physical bunched up clutter to the mental clutter of massive workloads of relevant and non-relevant tasks.  Take the time to sort this out.  Getting organized on a daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly basis should be a standard part of your business and of the action plans across all employees.  Encourage organizing and priority setting as part of the valued added side of your corporate culture.

Business Tips – Create a Constructive Environment

Feedback is necessary on all aspects of your business.  Ensure that you develop a culture of encouraging and valuing input from all levels in the organization.  Constructiveness is essential … when everyone puts on their constructive gear and behavior, everyone is “building” towards a common goal.  Feedback can be critical nature, but as team members put on the constructive hats, criticism turns to positive alternative idea and solution generation.  Problems and issues are better solved when the collective can feed into the solution.

business tips - social Be Social

This business tip is not necessarily focused on spending massive amounts of time on social media.  Being social in business means networking, partnering, collaboration, team work.   Every business, every entrepreneur venture is vastly stronger when you and your team get out there and communicate and network with everyone.  Not all deals, partnerships and customers will automatically fall into your lap … you need to get aggressive and make the moves to communicate and network with others.  Remember that social media is only one form of communication and engagement with other businesses and customers.   Communications, marketing and business development occur in many ways outside of normal office functions and social media.

Business Tips – Be Helpful

As a leader, entrepreneur and community member be helpful to all and it will eventually return to you in spades.  Being a business leader is not a one-way street…. you need to not only receive but to give.  Your valued staff give their efforts and their time to helping you achieve your success.  You need to help your staff become successful through employee development, encouragement, recognition and in your acceptance of their needs professionally and in their personal lives.

When developing products and services for customers, remember this two-way street.  It’s not about just gaining revenue from clients.  You should be developing your business around how your products and services can first help the intended market, and meeting the needs of the consumer.   Revenue then potentially follows after successfully meeting the needs of the customer.

Plan well for maximum benefits and results!

Relevant personal and business development blogs and articles

Strategy Plan One

http://strategyplanone.com

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Customer Retention – Observing Movie Theater Industry Strategies and Tactics

Strategy Plan One

July 28, 2012

customer retentionCustomer Retention

Similar to other business industries, the movie theater industry has experienced ups and downs over the past few decades, with trying to build the customer base and in customer retention.

 

It is often stated in Customer Relationship Management strategies that it is 3 times harder to attract new customers than to keep customers through customer retention.  What do you think the logical, strategic approach is?

ice ageOn a Friday night, a group of us decided to take in a movie at the theater.  Deciding to be entertained in 3-D, we slid in and bought tickets for Ice Age: Continental Drift.  After paying  the usual ticket prices, the design of the theater brings you to the unavoidable drink – snack – popcorn counter, where of course, we snack – geared everyone for the movie.

To not miss anything, like anyone else, we wanted to ensure we were there prior to the 7:15pm start time.   As you are probably aware, the first few minutes prior to the start time, movie goers are slightly entertained, with all bodies pointing forward to the screen with clips and shots of “did you remember to get…”, and all the rest of value-added, movie theater promotional stuff.  After 10 minutes of alternating between occasionally glancing at the screen and frequently engaging in conversation with our party, the lights dimmed and volume was cranked up.

In your mind 7:15pm start time is firm and you are ready to watch.  Nope, not the case.  For the next 16 minutes (yes I was the annoying one looking at my mobile device lighting up the adjacent areas) we all sat through movie trailers, ads and clips, one after another.  Then another promotion for another 3-D movie coming up.  Oh, and then one fairly entertaining movie theater industry ad attempting to generate more interest in coming to the movie theater again.  16 minutes of this!  Didn’t we all just pay to watch a movie at 7:15pm?  I can expect to click-through pop up ads on a website if I am getting something for free there, but experiencing this in a movie theater?  Why?

Don’t get me wrong that I am severely complaining here, but highlighting more of a business and marketing observation.  Quite frequently some of us put on our business hats and observe how businesses promote themselves, engage and communicate with the customer, and try to build up the loyal base of repeat customers.  Here are some of the messaging and customer retention relevant observations at the theater before the movie, during that time frame prior to the movie, and post-movie time frame:

  • Customer convenience – theaters make it easy for customers to buy tickets in advance at kiosks or online
  • Captivated audience – Paying customers are in front of the screen, focused on the screen and the instructions on proper movie theater etiquette tells movie goers not to be doing anything else (ie: don’t talk, don’t use mobile devices)
  • Free Trial – Customers are getting a “free” glimpse at additional products, in the appropriate format (ie: movie theater ads have a bigger impact being played in the actual movie theater and not on a 21 inch, non-surround sound system at home)
  • Colors, design and words used in the clips, trailers and ads can create positive responses from the consumer
  • Investment – the movie industry sinks millions into advertising and test marketing these ads prior to developing the final 2 minute clip or trailer (ever notice movies had looked super appealing in those trailers?)
  • Feedback – the theaters capture customer feedback in two ways – in person or by kiosk; this feedback is an important part of improving the experience and of the Customer Relationship Management process

Whatever the tactics and strategies used by the movie theater industry, they are able to hit and make an impact on the paying customer to enable a response to return.  In your business, what are your strategies to gain the continued interest from your customer?  Keep them informed? Provide them will add-on packages while you have their attention?  Offer the free trial to keep the customer coming back?  Ensure you observe certain industry and business tactics towards gaining and retaining the customer base.  Incorporate strong customer retention strategies in your business plan and marketing strategies.

More on the Customer:

More business blogs of interest:

 

Ty Col    Consultant, Mentor, Entrepreneur

Strategy Plan One

http://strategyplanone.com

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Pay Per Click – Advertising Statistics and Trends [infographic]

Strategy Plan One

July 20, 2012

Pay Per Click

Businesses and marketers are always keen to observe the trends with pay per click advertising, as pay per click advertising may be proving to be more beneficial than just aligning efforts to rank sites through organic searches.

Pay per click advertising, essentially paying for advertising to rank at the top of search engines, is an effective method to generate more traffic to websites.  In a world of overwhelming information available over the web, it is advantageous for businesses and marketers to have links and information readily available at consumer’s fingertips and in plain sight.  Hence the reasons, search engine sites have sponsored ads lining the top part of the pages and right columns.  These areas of web pages result in the greatest number of user clicks.

Some interesting pay per click (PPC) advertising statistics and trends are highlighted in this infographic from WordStream:

  • Pay per click ad results outweigh organic search results by nearly 2:1 (commercial content)
  • PPC accounts for 64.5% of clicks (high commercial intent)
  • Top 3 Sponsored links at the top of the Google search page account for 41.1% of the clicks
  • Sponsored ads on Google account for over 85% of the page above the fold
  • If companies already rank organically, adding pay per click ads results in 89% new visitor traffic
  • Click through rates for Google ads are 600 times higher than paid ads on Facebook pages

Check out some more information and trends on pay per click advertising, comparison of SEO and pay per click, and options in paid advertising.

pay per click

Source:  WordStream

Businesses and marketing specialists should carefully weigh the options of marketing and advertising activities.  As in all business activities, marketing plans should be developed, identifying marketing activities and budgets.  Pay per click advertising may form part of the advertising campaign, and with all activities, the results of efforts should be tracked, measured and analyzed.  You may want to compare the return on investment in pay per click advertising to other forms of marketing and advertising activities in your business.

More on Marketing:

More business blogs of interest:

Strategy Plan One

http://strategyplanone.com

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Marketing Tips for Better Customer Engagement and Results [infographic]

Strategy Plan One

July 12, 2012

Marketing Tips

In business it is critical to interact and communicate with customers to get the sense of what customers want and if your business is meeting their needs.  The more frequent, valuable, and genuine your interactions and communications are, the more trust you will build with your potential and existing client base.

Some simple marketing, business tips produced in an infographic by Mindspress, highlight the small things you can do to build better rapport with clients.  By making small adjustments and improvements in activities, you can achieve greater exposure in the environment and communities, and better results with customers.

  • Communications – gather customer contact information such as email to give you an avenue to engage and offer to the customer frequently.
  • Asking for feedback – the ability for customers to provide a feedback and reviews will create buzz around your products and services.  It also helps in creating traffic and in spreading the word through multiple sources and Google searches.
  • Community involvement – according to this article, giving back to the community, such as volunteering, sponsoring, and donating creates greater exposure for your business.  It helps improve morale for those who feel good with their involvement in communities.  Customers will take note!
  • Revised Marketing & Business Planning – it is extremely important to review your marketing and operational activities, to measure and to analyze the results of anything you are doing.  The global, domestic and local markets and business conditions change frequently … so should your marketing activities, marketing plan and business plan.  Stay on top!
  • Continuous Learning Environment – you need to keep a pulse of customer feedback and to incorporate the constructive messaging back from the customer.  When the customer is telling your something after their purchase, they are informing you (as an added benefit to you) that they invested in you, and in order to keep them you need to improve the experience, product or service.  Listen well and incorporate changes based on feedback.

marketing tips

Source: Mindspress.com

More on Marketing:

More business blogs of interest:

Strategy Plan One

http://strategyplanone.com

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Social Media, Mobile and Internet Data by the Minute [infographic]

Strategy Plan One

June 22, 2012 

Social Media, Mobile, Internet Data

It is mind boggling how much data we create and digest through multiple forms of electronic media and devices.  Taking the business perspective on the “data created every minute” information in the infographic from Domo:

  • Consumers spend over $272,000 / minute – sites are showing trends in e-commerce fused with social media activities
  • Brands receive ~35,000 likes / minute on Facebook – does your business have a presence in social media sites?
  • YouTube users upload 48 hours of content / minute – Sites with video lead to more sales
  • Mobile increases its user base by 217 every minute – trends are favorable in mobile app and e-commerce through mobile devices
  • Facebook users share almost 700,000 pieces of content / minute – as an astute marketer in your business, create valuable content worth sharing

social media mobile internet data by the minute

Here are some additional Social Media articles, blogs and infographics:

More on Mobile Market and Mobile Apps:

 

Strategy Plan One

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Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Social Media and Online Customer Trends [Infographic]

Strategy Plan One

June 19, 2012 

Social Media and E-commerce

Social media use and e-commerce have strong business connections.  Where are the trends heading?  Are online sales trends through social media on an exponential growth track or on a realistic, small growth trend similar to non social media linked sales?

Here is an interesting infographic from Gloople, and the highlights:

  • Only 9% of commerce currently generated online
  • 60% of consumers shop online quarterly
  • By 2015, 50% of companies will generate online sales through social media or mobile apps
  • Estimated: 192 Million consumers will shop online by 2016
  • Big Jump: Ave. annual online spending by consumers in 2016 over $2,000
  • Big Online Sales globally – estimated to exceed $400 Billion annually by 2016

Social Media Consumer Trends:

  • 20% online purchases within a social media site
  • 40% of Twitter Users search for products & services via Twitter
  • 12% of consumers made purchases due to info found on Twitter
  • 75% more likely to purchase if a friend endorses through social media
  • 34% more likely to share purchase info on social media site than on an           e-commerce site
  • 77% of online shoppers use reviews
  • 81% receive online advice on products & services

Social Media Commerce Facts and Statistics

  • 700 Billion minutes / month spent on Facebook
  • 6.5% click through rate on Facebook walls
  • Don’t forget Google+ …now at 170 M users
  • Pinterest now accounting for 3.6% of referral traffic
  • Pinterest click through rate 3 times more than Google+
  • 65% of global top 100 companies have a Twitter account

social media - online customer trends

Here are some additional Social Media articles, blogs and infographics:

 

Strategy Plan One

http://strategyplanone.com

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Content Marketing – Targeting Local Markets [infographic]

Strategy Plan One

June 9, 2012 

Content Marketing

Content marketing is the practice of utilizing marketing activities to promote highly relevant, valuable and directed information to key target markets.  Careful crafted content on websites to a specific audience can be a part of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies to engage targeted local markets and drive local customers to your business.

In this infographic from Brafton.com, it is interesting to note 97% of consumers search online for local businesses.  This is good indicator that if you have a store front for products and services that you need to tailor your website with content that potential customers searching online will find easily.

From this infographic, here are the strategic steps to make content marketing drive local SEO:

  1. Find your local audience using analytical tools
  2. Modify your key words to target local audiences
  3. Research to create content
  4. Measure results, revise strategy and repeat 

content marketing

Blogs, infographics and articles on marketing:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) information and resources:

Strategy Plan One

http://strategyplanone.com

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One