FOCUS on Business


Manta on Branding

Make yourself well-known both on the web and in the realm of business with branding. In order to build your brand be sure to read up on your industry to learn all there is, establish a clear and concise website for your business, and network with other companies to build relationships. Establishing a presence online will help enhance your brand and reach more customers.

From Manta:  Business Tip

Do Your Customers Get Emotional About Your Brand?

To differentiate your brand from your competitors it should bring out an emotional response such as trust, humor, or achievement. These emotions associate positive experiences with your company. That emotional tie builds loyalty and inspires your customers to tell their friends about you and your products or services.

by Janice Lee Odom

If you are a small business and you don’t have a marketing strategy or an advertising budget, then your chances of success are slim.  While everyone wants to encourage word of mouth (those customers are the ones who recommend you), a small business should never rely strictly on word of mouth to drive their business.  This is because satisfied customers don’t tell about your business as often as dissatisfied customers do. 

In a recent Harvard Business Review OnPoint article, “Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers,” these points were laid out:

  • 25% of customers are likely to say something positive about their experience.
  • 65% are likely to speak negatively.
  • 23% of customers who had a positive service interaction told 10 or more people about it.
  • 48% of customers who had negative experiences told 10 or more others.

So, as you can see, even businesses that have stellar customer service run a huge risk by relying on word-of-mouth to drive their business. 

This is such an important point in the type of economy we are experiencing right now.  Small businesses are struggling.  In my own community of Powell County, Kentucky there have been many small businesses fold.  When businesses experience a downturn, often the first thing that they do is to cut their advertising budget.  They stop advertising at all.

I know sometimes it seems counter-intuitive to invest money in advertising when your business seems to be going under.  The truth is, that is when you need to advertise.  I used to own a pampering spa which operated very successfully during a time when other salons were failing.  I had 12 talented employees who came to work for me from other salons and they always said the same thing, “The other place I was working couldn’t keep enough customers to keep me employed.” 

This is so important to note.  These employees were the same exact resource working in my salon as they were someplace else.  So, it wasn’t the service that was driving the business.  The difference was in advertising.

Each business is unique and must have a unique marketing plan.  For instance, the salon utilized a variety of marketing strategies.  My first line of strategy involved phonebook advertising.  A prominent display ad in the phonebook sets a business apart.  How prominent the ad needs to be is driven by various factors including how your competitors are advertising and how close they are located to your business.  Also, the name of your business makes a difference here because the phonebook lists businesses in alphabetical order.  Nowadays, you want to go with at least a boldfaced type ad in the white pages and yellow pages.  You will also have to consider online directories like Manta.  The current generation hits the internet for their phone numbers.  Manta will list your business for free, but there are advantages to paying for other information to be added and to being a featured business.

If you are not using social media to promote your business, you are missing the boat.  Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Linkedin, Pinterest, Google, Yahoo all have free components and paid components.  You should use these services.  If you don’t know how, there are ways to learn.  You can take a class, purchase a book, borrow a book from the library, use a search engine and ask “How do I use WordPress to make a blog?”  There are tutorials on the internet for virtually everything that you would want to learn.

Magazines that are regional are great ways to advertise.  Their rates are going to be less than their National Competitors and the exposure in your area will be much broader.  Plus, there are usually discounts for multiple ad runs and it makes sense to buy local in today’s economy.  There are several regional magazines here in Central and Eastern Kentucky, including FOCUS Magazine and Kentcky Festivals and Events Magazine.

Radio is another advertising option.  Having moved to Eastern Kentucky from a large city, I was accustomed to seeing advertising rates that most small businesses could not even touch.  I am here to tell you, this area has some of the best advertising rates for radio in the country.  I work with WSKV, 104.9FM out of Stanton and the rates are quite reasonable for radio.

If you would like rate sheets from FOCUS Magazine or Kentucky Festivals and events, please contact me, Janice Lee at 606-663-1011 or email me at janicefocus@gmail.com and I will send them over. 

Janice Lee Odom is Chair of the Kentucky Entrepreneurs’ Alliance, a Kentucky non-profit who mission is to incubate, educate, and support Small Business.  She is the host of the popular radio show “Featuring the Arts” which airs on Tuesdays at 5PM on WSKV 104.9FM and features all types of arts including theater, books, movies, community arts, singers, poets, and musicians.  The show streams on the web at www.wskvfm.com. She is the General Manager of FOCUS Magazine.  She is a partner and is Acquisitions Editor with Read Writers Publishing.  She is also a motivational speaker, a singer/songwriter, and an author.

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