Category Archives for "Blog"

Aug 22

Simplifying Your Sales and Marketing Approach

By Sylvia LeRahl | Blog

If you’re not getting the sales numbers you desire, why is that? Chances are, you subscribe to one of the many fallacies of sales and marketing. Here’s a look at why traditional methods are failing and what you can do to change it.

What Isn’t Working?

The reassuring news is that some of the most tried-and-true methods of marketing are still effective. People continue to love video advertising. To be sure, video accounts for nearly 70 percent of all Internet traffic, according to Cisco Visual Networking. However, many other marketing strategies are falling flat. Take a look at the numbers.

  • Direct mail is expected to experience a 19% declineover the next 12 months (2016 DMA Response Rate Report);
  • Only 13% of people who read print publications report ever looking at the ads;
  • Nearly half of direct mail is never opened;
  • 70% to 80% of online users don’t look at online ads, preferring to focus only on organic search results;
  • 86% of people ignore television commercials.

Effective Sales and Marketing Ideas

As buyers become increasingly underwhelmed by advertising gimmicks, innovation becomes even more important. It is the role of businesses, then, to ensure that information is delivered to prospective customers at the right time, in the right format, and on the right platforms. This is where an inbound marketing strategy becomes crucial.

Research

There’s no need to spend copious amounts of time drudging up case studies. Instead, ‘research’ refers to time spent understanding the company and its goals, understanding the industry, and understanding the customers. This is where savvy business owners focus their attention.

  1. When it comes time to determine what your business stands for, ask the following questions:
  • What does it mean to ‘grow the business?’
  • How will I know if I’m successful?
  • What are my long and short-term goals?
  • What is the sales process?
  1. Check out the industry

As time passes, industries evolve. Each year brings new insights, research, and/or tools. As this occurs, it’s important to stay relevant. This is where industry research comes in.

  1. Determine your customer base

Speak to the salespeople—those who directly communicate with customers—to better understand the customer base. As a business leader, it’s important to give the sales and marketing teams time to sit together, collaborate, and also vent frustrations (trust me, there are bound to be some!)

Capitalize on the defining quality of your brand’s identity

It isn’t enough to say your company is “good” or that it solves problems. Instead, figure out what makes it unique and market your business on that platform.

GoPro is a stellar example of this. Their strategy revolves around synergy. By crafting a strategy based on a theme that adeptly complements their product, they have achieved excellent results.

The key to many successful campaigns is innovation. As Harvard Business Review analyst Niraj Dawar said, “Com­pet­i­tive bat­tles are won by offer­ing inno­va­tions that reduce cus­tomers’ costs and risks over the entire pur­chase, con­sump­tion, and dis­pos­al cycle.”

Utilize email marketing

Once upon a time, the phrase “You’ve Got Mail” brought shrieks of joy and excitement. After years of spam, Nigerian prince schemes, and assurances of undeserved wealth, it’s understandable to look at email marketing with a skeptical eye. Yet is it effective?

The short answer is Yes.

With an effective email marketing campaign, the possibilities for growth are endless. It is one of the lowest-cost, highest-return marketing techniques around.

Yet let’s say that your time is short and drafting email campaigns sounds cumbersome, here’s an alternative approach: Piggyback on third-party e-newsletters that reach qualified subscribers. For example, let’s say you want to reach moms of toddlers. You could research the most popular parenting websites, then choose the most cost-efficient and effective one to advertise in. This would guarantee that you’d reach parents or parents-to-be. Since subscribers opted-in to the newsletter, you’d score a good open rate and earn some credibility by being associated with a reputable publication.

While there may seem to be as many sales and marketing techniques in the world as there are people, keeping it simple and manageable is key for most start-up businesses. Start with these three tactics if you’re just starting the entrepreneurship adventure. Then, once you become more established, keep them in your back pocket in case the well runs dry.

Aug 22

Leaving Your Acoustic Watermark With Sound Branding

By Sylvia LeRahl | Blog

Sound is a funny sense. It weaves in and out of space, invisible to the eyes, yet oh-so-powerful to the ears. Along with sight, it accounts for 99 percent of all brand communication. Despite impacting our mood and psychological state, however, audio branding is surprisingly underutilized in marketing. While some industries have capitalized on the power of sound, other industries have been a bit reticent in adopting its principles. Here’s why that may soon change.

What is Audio Branding?

In short, audio branding refers to all of the aspects of sound that a company uses to convey its brand. As described by Karlheinz Illner, “The key elements are: sound logo, brand song, sound icons, brand score, brand hook line, brand voice and even soundscapes. These elements should reflect the brand values and brand personality in their acoustic dimensions and should acoustically distinguish a brand from its competition.”

Retail’s Use of Sound Branding

Like all marketing tactics, it is often those that sneak into our subconscious that leave the greatest impact. Chances are, you’ve experienced the nuances of this phenomena. After hearing a commercial, the ditty that the actors hummed stays lodged in your brain all day. Or maybe you’ve walked into a store and promptly walked out because the airwaves were filled with annoying music. (I have a hunch you know what I’m talking about.)

The most well-utilized form of sound marketing is through the use of jingles. The retail environment has manufactured this form of branding more than any other industry. The first network jingle appeared in the 1940s when Austen Herbert Croom-Johnson and Alan Bradley Kent developed the jingle “Pepsi-Cola Hits the Spot.” Placed in jukeboxes around the United States, the Pepsi jingle became infectious. Jingles are especially effective because they use short sound clips and repetitiveness, two components that make memorization frustratingly easy. They seem to get stuck in our thoughts like an inextricable weed lodged between cracks in the sidewalk.

Other times, sound branding envelopes far more than a short ditty. Clothing brand Abercrombie & Fitch knows this well. The stores are designed from a multi-sensory perspective in an attempt to encourage people to spend more money. To maintain their younger clientele, the stores play music at a loud volume and in genres that appeal to this demographic. They also spray a specific fragrance throughout their stores in order to attract certain shoppers, and utilize attractive models to garner a particular reputation. Likewise, the Volkswagen Cabrio in 2000 enjoyed increased sales with the popularity of their commercial set to Nick Drake’s “Pink Moon.”

The Power of Sound

Audio branding works by awakening one of the five fundamental senses: hearing. While we can close our eyes to ignore visual advertising, we can’t very well close our ears, thereby making this form of marketing ever more powerful. Sound serves as a way to make an emotional connection to customers and create memories.

Most of our purchases are based on emotions. Sound can be used to define, differentiate, and communicate. Carefully selected music generates more revenue by creating a positive atmosphere, thereby encouraging customers to stay in place and make more purchases.

As if to underscore this point, George Lucas once said that 50 percent of Star Wars’ success came from its music.

Audio Branding in the Hospitality Industry

The same concepts that can be applied in the retail industry can be applied to the hospitality industry — both online and offline.

Studies show that we associate sounds with certain memories. Since a mood is readily associated with specific vacation experiences, it’s important for those in the hospitality industry to choose sounds that manifest positive emotions. Yet it’s also important to be consistent in the sound used. It would be confusing to customers to hear a variety of sounds associated with a hotel’s brand. Although it’s appropriate to use variations, it’s critical that customers identify the brand with a specific style, just as in the case of visuals.

The first decision, then, is to define where sounds will be used and what styles of sound are most suitable. Ideally, the sounds inside the hotel will align with the sounds used on the website, when people call in to the hotel, and in advertising. The music program should have an emotional resonance with customers that reflects the brand’s personality. A notable example of this comes from Bahia Principe. They have a unique melody for their videos that corresponds with the tune heard if calling in to the hotel. This same melody is heard throughout their hotels and a similar tune plays when their logo is displayed. In other words, they have effectively crafted a sound brand that attracts a particular type of customer.

Equally important is choosing the right music to incorporate. Often, hotels make the mistake of using the same types of music as one another, such as the top hits from the 70s, 80s, 90s, or a mix thereof. This generic compilation ensures that most hotels sound identical and cheap. It also shows a disregard for the appreciation of the quality and power of music. Instead, it’s important to choose music that shapes the emotional investment visitors have to the hotel and helps usher in positive memories.

Branding in Your Industry

Whatever industry your business embodies, rest assured that it can benefit from a little branding TLC. When you’re ready for branding that electrifies,, contact On the Verge Writing. I know how to create branding campaigns that attract new customers and retain the old.

Aug 22

Hiring a Freelance Writer Makes Cents

By Sylvia LeRahl | Blog

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