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About our ad in Tourist & Town Magazine?

Liz is great at Advertising Layouts. This ad is effective. Here’s why:

  • Easy readability.
  • Bold, eye catching graphic “See This!”
  • See the repetition of color.
  • Notice the use of only 2 different fonts.
  • White space draws the eye and keeps the ad from feeling cluttered.
  • There is a call to action.
  • Information is grouped logically.

Advertisement is expensive. Make sure you don’t waste your money on a cluttered mess. Get an ad that draws customers to your business.

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The Off-Season: A Time to Plan Marketing Strategy

In many industries, there is a busy season.  Accountants have tax season, doctors have flu season, retail has Black Friday.  In Maine we have summer tourist season.  The off-season, while being a chance to work at a slower pace is also a time to do marketing.  

The off-season, while being a chance to work at a slower pace is also a time to do marketing.”

I love to sew.  I love the construction process, I love picking out fabrics, and I love the final result.  However, I learned that the part that takes the most time is planning the project.  It takes much more time to research your pattern, figure out what you need (zippers, buttons, interfacing, elastic…), cut out the pattern pieces, and pin pieces together than it does to actually construct the garment.  Running the fabric through the sewing machine (the part you think about when you think of sewing) is actually just a tiny fraction of the project.

Monarch Butterfly Computer Art
Monarch Butterfly Computer Art

Similarly, marketing is the same as sewing.  It requires a lot of planning, and getting the parts needed.  When we are in the off-season, we need to take advantage of that time to use our imagination, play with ideas, prepare ads and social media posts, and finally store finished projects away for your busy time.  

I recommend getting your calendar out.  Look at your calendar and think about what is coming up in the year ahead.  In the case of Kennebunk, we have leaf-peepers to come in the Fall, we have visitors who come up for Christmas Prelude, Memorial Day weekend is big, and of course we have Summer Tourist Season.   Looking at the calendar helps us to think about what events we need to plan for.  Do we need advertisements, do we need artwork to be done. Brochures, press releases, magazine submissions and social media posts can all be prepared while business is slow. 

Did you know that customer emails and social media posts can be scheduled to send weeks in advance of going out to customers?  You can have readied things to go out when you are too busy actually running your business to worry about reaching customers.

Marketing takes planning and preparation.  Good luck using your quiet time to make the most of your business growth.

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How Social Media Helps Business

Everyone is trying Social Media Marketing these days.  We are all looking for new ways to capture the attention of new clients and draw new business to our establishments.  All of these attempts are creating a lot of noise for consumers.  We are all bombarded with messages we don’t need or want.  And, while social media marketing has its use, it is not a golden ticket to more sales.  In fact, at its best, social media marketing will bring in an additional 2% of new business.  So why do we do it? And, how do we do it effectively?

Well, first we need to have a healthy online presence.  Most of the people who are shopping these days immediately go to Google on their smart phone and search where to get the thing they need.  They check out the listings and the reviews and pick one that inspires the most confidence. Usually people choose a business that Google has ranked in the top three.  My Dad needed a tow truck one day.  No local tow trucks came up in his online search. Only national companies 2 towns away were listed.  What a shame!  Small businesses are at a disadvantage when it comes to Google Algorithms.  So, how do we help ourselves?

Social media and blogs help us to get noticed by the Google Algorithms.  The whole point is to create enough activity that the internet robots recognize that your business is alive and well.  Activity lets Google know something is happening.  Google places your listing higher causing your business to get more looks.  More looks cause your rating to improve.  See the cycle?  Large name-brands are at an advantage over small businesses. Especially if the small business doesn’t even show up in a search.

Social Media Marketing Graphic

Many will claim that you need to be posting multiple times daily to reach your audience.  This adds to the over-whelming noise that we all sift through to get to the stuff we want.  I recommend only posting content with real purpose.  That takes planning, but it’s worth it to drive interested people to your site.  Social media primes the pump for online recognition  Having an online presence helps you to come up in Google searches.  This is how your business gets credibility and gains customers.  

Sit down with your calendar and look ahead.  Imagine what will be needed during different months of the year.  In Maine we have a lot of additional tourists in the area during the summer. Planning social media to engage customers who are planning their vacations or capture their attention once they are here is legitimately worth doing.  Posting a picture every day just to keep coming up in the feed doesn’t really work.

The other factor in this game is choosing the right social media platform.  Different platforms appeal to different demographics.  For instance.  Older people prefer Facebook.  Young people prefer Instagram and Snapchat.  LinkedIn is great for reaching business people.  If you choose to place a social media ad, you get to tell Facebook, or Instagram (or whichever platform you choose) exactly who you want to see your ad.  Hitting the right group of people is absolutely the best way to reach interested parties.  

Think about who you are trying to reach.  What personality is going to appeal to your audience.  Is your audience a group of church ladies or biker bar customers.  Keep in mind the language and topics you use will not appeal to everyone.  Make sure they appeal to the group you want to talk to, and don’t worry if they won’t appeal to anyone else.  

Finally make sure your website is clean and Google robot friendly (this is a whole other topic.)  Make sure your information is fresh and up-to-date.  Show your clients the information they need to make decisions about spending their money with you.  Keep your website presence as well as you keep your physical location. These are some of the keys to gaining confidence in your business.  The whole point of social media marketing is to drive your customer base towards your business goal. To get to those goals, we are using social media to increase your Google ranking and increase your businesses credibility.  

Best of luck!

Liz Eickmann


Sources

Clarke, Adam. SEO 2019: Learn Search Engine Optimization with Smart Internet Marketing Strategies. Createspace, 2019.

Coombe, Will. 3 Months to No.1: the ‘No-Nonsense’ SEO Playbook for Getting Your Website Found on Google. 2nd ed., Will Coombe, 2019.

Kothand, Meera. 300 Email Marketing Tips: Critical Advice And Strategy To Turn Subscribers Into Buyers & Grow A Six-Figure Business With Email. Www.meerakothand.com, 2019.

Macarthy, Andrew. 500 Social Media Marketing Tips: Essential Advice, Hints and Strategy for Business: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, and More! Andrew Macarthy, 2019.n

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Screen Size Matters

Generally, when building a website you are working on a desktop computer or a laptop. Everything looks great when it is spread out on a large screen in front of you. However, Forbe’s Magazine tell us that 57% of searches are taking place on smartphones and tablets. Suddenly the well-planned design that looked great on our monitors isn’t working so well!

When planning a website, it’s important to be aware
of how it will display on a tablet or phone.

Eschew Obfuscation on Cell Phones

When planning a website, it’s important to be aware of how it will display on a tablet or phone. Many platforms provide tools for looking at your site in different formats as you work. So, checking on this should be fairly easy. Many platforms are smart enough to change appearance for how they are being viewed. If your platform doesn’t do this, it might be time to upgrade to another.

When looking at different platforms look for terms like “Responsive Design,” or “mobile friendly.” These are the things you want to bring to your customers so that they can have the best web experience.

More and more consumers today are shopping and researching using phones and tablets. Designers need to be aware of how websites are displayed. If your web-designer hasn’t helped you with this, make sure to ask them for improvements. A website that isn’t mobile-friendly is not helping your business.

For more information, check out the following.

Kreyenhagen, Jim; Forbes Magazine “Why Catering to Mobile Users is Vital for Today’s Services;” August 30, 2018.

Google


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Branding Strategies

Large companies set up a Brand Book to help their employees maintain a consistent image across their marketing. This is not a difficult thing to do, but many small businesses overlook this detail.

Sample of a really simple brand tool.

Plan to use the same font each time. Maybe you want to use two different fonts, one for headings and another for text. Choose something that is easy to read for your text.

Repeat the use of certain colors in your marketing. Consumers will begin to associate your company with a particular color. Be specific with that color. There are charts for finding the exact same color each and every time. Think of the orange of Home Depot, versus the orange at Dunkin’ Donuts, or the Blue of Tiffany’s Jewelry vs. the Blue of US Postal Service. Each of these colors are specific to the brand.

Logos can be very simple. A letter in a particular font or color can be enough, but more sophisticated logos can be designed.

The upshot is, you can have a very low-cost branding that is consistent and makes a memorable impression on the public.

If you are looking for more, contact a professional. We can help you!

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Digital Magic Brings Old Photos New Life

If you know anything about digital photography, it is that images are saved in pixels.  Digital pictures are a really complex version of pointillism.  (Think of the painting by Seurat, A Sunday on La Grande Jatte.)  If you want to make the picture larger than it was when it was initially made, then the image will become fuzzy. Sometimes the quality becomes so bad that the image is lost.

I was looking at some pictures of my Mom when she was a young girl and I wanted to turn one into a large print.  Fortunately, with a little bit of Digital Magic, I was able to transform an old 3 inch by 3 inch photograph into a large image for my wall.

Vector images use math to figure out how to render a picture.  Vector images are different from pixel images because they can expand infinitely without losing their quality.

So, how did I do this transformation.  First, I took the old photograph and scanned it with my digital scanner.  Then I brought the photo into Photoshop where I cleaned up scratches, tears, and other marks.  Once this was completed, I brought the image into Illustrator.  In Illustrator is a Trace function.  It has lots of amazing possibilities.  One of the things you can do with it is create a vector image that looks very similar to the photograph, but will have a look that seems a little like a painting.

I was so ecstatic about the results of this picture.

If you have old photographs which need to be restored, or if you have images which you would like to turn into wall art, contact me and I will see if I can work some digital magic on them as well.

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Clean and Lean – Writing for Clarity

Reaching your audience is already a big challenge. It’s your goal to make it as easy as possible for clients to find you and grasp what you can do for them. There are many ways we can overcomplicate our message. We can use words that are difficult to understand, we can overstuff our website with information that hides our main point, and we can make grammatical mistakes that can really confuse our audience.

Eschew Obfuscation: Avoid confusing your message.
Avoid Confusing Your Message

One common way to lose your audience is to use technical jargon or overly formal wording. We want to appear professional and knowledgeable, so of course we pull out the thesaurus and try to sound authoritative. Or we are so used to industry terminology that we forget how foreign it sounds to the average person. Both of these things will cause readers’ eyes to glaze over. A way to solve this is to imagine explaining what you do to your grandma. Keep your vocabulary conversational and choose words that will be understood by someone not trained in your industry.

Another way to confuse your message is to lose it in descriptions of your philosophy, the history of your facility, or a biography of how your business came to be. All of these things are valid to have on your website. In fact, sometimes these stories help set you apart from your competition and allow your target audience to find you. However, don’t hide your main message. “We can do X for you.” If, for example, a reader likes that you ride horses on the weekend, but doesn’t know you run an outdoor adventure camp, your message has failed to serve its purpose.

Also, have a friend look over your work. Are there typos? Have you repeated a word too often? Does your message really say what you think it says? Another viewpoint can help you get your wording just right and avoid embarrassing mistakes.

Finally, rewriting and editing is part of the process. Keep exploring word choices and looking for ways to pare your message down until it is lean and clean.

Good luck with messaging and have a great time crafting those websites!


For more information read:

May I Have Your Attention, Please? by Mish Slade; Copyright Mish Slade 2016

Building A Story Brand by Donald Miller; Harper Collins 2017