How to Get the Most Out of Your Marketing Team

Getting the most out of your marketing team is important when justifying the expense of outsourcing.  I have met a number of small business owners that tell me they’ve tried to outsource their marketing tasks but haven’t had luck working with marketing professionals.  I commonly hear from people that they have hired either a marketing agency or a freelancer and haven’t had a good experience.  They tell me things like: “they weren’t doing a good job”,  “business wasn’t growing” or “I get better results when I do it myself.”How to get the most out of your marketing team

Depending on who you choose to work with, all of these things could very well be true, but sometimes, as the owner you may be a playing a bigger role in your lack of marketing success than you think!  I have found with just a little client support, I can help small business owners get the most from their marketing team.  The key is knowing what to ask for and how to ask for it!

1.  Be Prepared

If you want to be successful in outsourcing your marketing tasks to someone, you first need to take some time to prepare yourself.  Give some thought as to what areas you really lack knowledge in when it comes to marketing.  Maybe you are good at managing your social media presence, but aren’t so good at placing advertising.  If that’s the case, you should continue to manage your social media and then hire a media buyer to help you place advertising.  Understand what you need help with, before you ask for it and then find a marketing person that can round out your skill set.

2.  Have a Budget  

Whether it is $50 or $50,000, have a budget in mind.  A marketing team will not be able to help you if they don’t know what they are working with.  As a marketing professional, I can put together the best marketing strategy in the world for you, but if you don’t have the budget to implement it, it’s useless so have an idea of what you can spend.  Without a budget, you are setting your marketing person up to struggle.

3.  Set Goals

One of the biggest mistakes I see clients make is not setting goals.  I can post to Facebook for you all day but if you don’t have a goal in mind as to what you want those posts to achieve you are wasting money and setting your marketing person up to fail.  If you want to get the most out of a marketing team, set measurable goals and be clear about what they are from the very beginning.

4.  Respond in a Timely Manner

When you are working with a marketing team, you can’t just “set it and forget it” as Ron Popeil from that old infomercial used to say!  If your marketing team emails you with questions, get back to them in a timely manner.  They may have a time sensitive opportunity or question that needs to be addressed.  Even though you are outsourcing, you still need to play an active role in your company’s marketing strategy in order for it to work.  You are the person at the heart of the business and you will know best when something is working and when something is not.  Also, if your marketing person relies on email as their primary means of communication (which many of us do) but email doesn’t work for you, request a phone call.

5.  Communicate Regularly

To piggy back off #4, you may have to tell your marketing team how to best communicate with you and you need to find time to talk with them regularly.  If you can not make time to communicate regularly with your marketing team, you are setting them up to not perform well for you.  They need to know what is going on with your business in order to help you improve it.

If you are currently working with a marketing agency and feel you are not getting what you need from them, contact me.  I can function as an extension of your team and help you navigate the projects you are working on with your existing marketing team.  If your team still isn’t getting the job done, I can introduce you to my team and see how we can help!

Marketing Support for Direct Sales Professionals

Did you know that Small Talk also provides marketing support for direct sales professionals?  It’s true…I have found a way to partner with direct sales reps to help them grow their business, so if you work for a direct sales company like Arbonne, Mary Kay or any of the other big players, you need to read on!

Marketing Support for Direct Sales Professionals: Learn how to Leverage What Is Provided

Many direct sales companies offer their representatives a TON of marketing collateral.  When you join some of the larger direct sales teams you often get everything from your own website to brochures, catalogs, takeaways and business cards all in one swoop.  AWESOME….but now what?Marketing Support for Direct Sales Professionals

The problem is, even though the parent company is providing the material, sometimes reps don’t know how to leverage what is provided.  That is where Small Talk comes in!  I can take a look at the materials that your company provides and guide you in ways to use them.

If there is something your company does not offer, like email marketing, I can work with you to take the materials they do provide and turn them into a great email marketing campaign.  And then there’s social media…

A lot of direct sales companies provide a ton of graphics, videos and other content to use on social media, but they miss a step when it comes to educating their reps on HOW to use them.  Posting a picture isn’t enough, you have to ask questions, get to know your audience and learn what will get them talking about your products!  Some times figuring these things out just takes a little guidance and a fresh perspective to help find the “secret sauce.”

Direct Sales Success Story

Last month I did a one hour consulting call with an Arbonne representative.  Like most of the other direct sales companies, Arbonne provides a lot of great content to their reps.  My client was using all the info but wanted to increase her visibility and get more engagement on social media.  Within a one hour call I had given her a number of action items to start working on to improve her social media efforts using what Arbonne already provides.  Just two days after our call, I got this message from her:

“Hey Jen- just wanted to let you know I have been liking other business pages and commented on ones at night…woke up to 8 messages with people requesting samples and a bunch of new likes! Thanks again for the coaching and I will for sure set something up with you again!!!”

I recently followed up to see how this client was doing and I’m happy to report that she has been building relationships with the people that reached out for samples and she’s confident it will turn into business over time!  As you know, building a relationship is usually step one in the sales cycle.

So, whether you need consulting services or something created that your company does not offer, contact Small Talk for a free consultation and learn how I can provide marketing support for your direct sales business and help you grow!

Initial consultations are always complimentary!

Employees and Your Business Facebook Page: What You Need to Know to Keep Your Company Safe

I hear from small business owners all the time that they are “just going to have their employee set up a business Facebook page” for them and let them handle it.Employees and Your Business Facebook Page  My immediate thought is YIKES!  Many owners think, “oh my employees are young and savvy when it comes to social media, who better to run my page.”  While I am for collaboration and different members of the team contributing to the company’s social media presence, you really have to be careful on how much access you give your employees to your business Facebook page or any other social media account for that matter and here’s why:

1.  If your employee is the only admin on your page, they can high-jack it!

We never want to think about things getting to a point with one of our employees where they are high-jacking our social media accounts but the fact is it happens!  I have had a number of my social media colleagues tell me about situations where the company they are working for had an employee create their business Facebook page and they were the only admin on the page.  The relationship between the company and the employee changed and the employee left…taking access to the business’s Facebook page with them.  If you are going to have your employees work on your social media accounts, make sure you also have full admin control over the accounts so that if you sense things starting to go south, you can remove that individual’s access before any problems occur.

2.  They may not be upholding your brand standards as you would expect them to.

What you say on your Facebook business page and social media in general as well as how you respond to people’s comments on your pages will become part of your brand messaging.  While you would hope your employees understand your brand and the message you want to send, giving them complete control over your Facebook business page is putting a lot of power in their hands.  If you are going to let your employee manage your business Facebook page be sure you are checking in on it regularly and ensuring they are speaking to your fans the way you’d want them to!

3.  Social media is now a customer service platform and as the owner you NEED to know about customer service issues.   

Like it or not, customers are turning to social media more than ever before to voice their customer service concerns.  If you have an employee running your business Facebook page, you’ve got to be sure they are not only responding to customer service inquiries in a timely manner but also resolving the issues according to your company’s standards.  While you don’t need to deal with every customer service issue yourself (if you’ve deemed that to be someone else’s responsibility) you should at least be aware of what type of customer service issues are coming up and how they are being handled.  Bad customer service can really harm a small business.

Encouraging your employees to participate in your social media efforts can make for great content.  It can also take some of the responsibility off you as the owner in having to manage your business’s Facebook page or other accounts.  While I am all for members of your team being a part of your social efforts, make sure you are still monitoring your accounts and be sure that you retain complete access to everything in the event that you and one of your social media helpers parts ways!

If you have questions about how to effectively have your team help you with social media, contact me at jennifer@smalltalkmarketing.com.  We can set up a time to talk about a social media strategy that you and your team can work on together!

Buyer Beware: Monthly Marketing Programs with Fees

Ahhh monthly fees.  We have them for many things and if you own a business you may be in a monthly marketing program that comes with fees attached.  Monthly Marketing Programs with FeesBased on the title of this post, you may think I am opposed to monthly marketing programs.  The truth is, I actually offer monthly marketing programs and 90% of my customers are on them!  With that said, I’m not opposed to monthly programs in general, just ones that don’t have both parties best interest in mind.

When it comes to monthly marketing programs many providers put them in place to guarantee your business.  The problem is, the way many of these agreements are structured, you practically have to give away your first born to get out of them and a lot of times they can be costly!  I’ve been running into a lot of marketing companies trying to push harsh monthly fees over the last month, which is what sparked this post.  So with that said, here are 5 things that often come up in monthly marketing programs that you need to be cautious of and why.

5 Things to Be Cautious of When Entering into a Monthly Marketing Program

1.  Agreements you are locked in to for an extended period of time – Like a cell phone contract, many marketers that charge monthly fees will make you commit to working with them for a specific number of months.  In some cases, it is necessary.  For example, take social media.  Many Social Media Managers set a 3 month minimum when starting to work on a new account.  Social media takes time to build up and there is typically a lot of work that goes into launching with a new client.  Setting a 3 month minimum is how many marketers spread out the up front costs over a period of time.

Over and above a 3, maybe 6 month commitment, I start to get nervous.  You never know where your business will be in 9 months.  Hopefully it will be booming, but you never know.  Also, maybe you find that you don’t work well with the provider.  It happens.  Not everyone can be “your people.”  Then what?  You’re locked in to working with someone you don’t like for months?  No thanks!

When you are considering starting a marketing program that comes with a monthly fee, ask up front what needs to be done to terminate the agreement.  Find out what, if any, fees are involved in doing so and how much notice you need to give to break ties.  Ask all of this before signing.

2.  Marketing fees that prevent you from having control of your assets – Yikes!  If you run into a provider that wants to maintain control of your domain name, your website log in information or be the only person that has access to your social media accounts in exchange for them managing everything for a monthly fee….RUN!  Your marketing materials are your assets.  You are investing money to brand your business and to grow your company by using these tools.  When a provider wants to retain control, you are no longer in control of your own property.  You should have full access to all your materials all of the time…period.  No questions asked. Anything else is unacceptable in my opinion.

3.  Monthly plans with big companies – This is sticky.  I don’t want to bash anyone here so I won’t name names but there are a lot of big companies out there that push social media, SEO and digital marketing services.  Don’t get me wrong, some of the bigger companies have their place and may do certain things well, but one thing I can almost guarantee is that you won’t get the personal service you’ll get from a smaller provider.

When you work with a smaller provider, most of the time, you are working with the owner, or someone who has some skin in the game and they want to make sure they know you, your business and what they need to do to help you succeed.  Most larger companies have so many clients they don’t have the time for that level of personal attention and they provide what I call cookie cutter services.  They do for you what they have done for every other client.  Again, in some cases its not a bad thing, but if you are a small business with a limited budget, your dollars would probably be better spent with someone who is going to roll up their sleeves and dive into your business as if they were a part of your team.

4.  Monthly plans that come with a high price tag – Again as I said earlier, you have no idea where your company will be in 9 months to a year.  Of course we hope for it to booming but if you are locked into a monthly marketing program that is costing you a fortune, you may have to pair back in other areas which could ultimately hurt your business.  Unless you can be totally sure that a high monthly fee is necessary, I always suggest you start out small and add more services as you need them.

5.  Monthly marketing plans that start out at an affordable price then go up in cost – This is my personal pet peeve.  It is no fun when you speak with a sales rep and they sell you on all the wonderful things their company can do for you for the “low price of $19.95 a month”  only to find that it will actually be $99 to get everything they showed you.

Beware of set ups like this.  I always find that these are companies that end up costing you more than they are worth.  Whenever I am watching a presentation on a marketing service, I always ask what the price will be to do everything they are talking about, not just the base price (which if often what they lure you in with.)

In closing, I’m not opposed to monthly marketing programs.  In many cases they are necessary and a good use of budget dollars.  This post was more or less my public service announcement for small business owners advising you to be cautious when entering in to any monthly agreement on behalf of your business because not every provider is looking for a mutually beneficial relationship.

What are your thoughts on monthly marketing programs?  Post your comments here or visit me on Facebook to join the conversation.

 

An Instagram Trick Desktop Lovers Need to Know About

Instagram is a photo based social media platform that more and more businesses are using to gain exposure for their small business.  Like Facebook, I didn’t want to give in and jump on the Instagram band wagon, but I did and now I’m hooked.  Aside from being fairly easy to use, I really like the platform for small businesses for several other reasons.

Why I like Instagram for BusinessInstagram

1.  We are becoming more and more of a visual society everyday…people like to see good looking images that teach share knowledge – Instragram provides that.

2.  Customers like to connect with businesses they buy from.  Instragram allows you connect with your customers by sharing photos of your products, your office, your team, what ever you’d like.

3.  Unlike Facebook, Instagram is not dictating who sees your posts.  If someone follows you and you post something, if they are on Instragram, they will see it!

4.  It’s hashtag heaven.  Like Twitter, Instagram allows you to use hashtags.  As a small business, hashtags can help you connect with potential customers AND interact with them.

So this is why I’ve started using Instagram.  The only problem is…Instagram is primarily a smart phone based application.  For many business owners, this isn’t an issue, in fact it makes it more convenient to incorporate Instragram into their daily marketing routine, because let’s face it, we always have our phones on us!

However, for someone who loves their desktop, this could be a drawback.  As it stands today, you can log on to Instagram from your desktop and view your feed.  GREAT…but can I find new users to follow on Instragram from my desktop?  You sure can.  I found this great tutorial on how to do it using a site called http://followgram.me/.  When you go to this site from your desktop, you can log in using your Instagram account search for users to follow!  Here’s the tutorial video that I found to walk you through the process.

So, now that you know how to find people from your desktop, find me on Instagram @jenn_smalltalkmarketing and follow me as I catch marketing as it is happening.

Share your Instragram handles with me so I can follow your business too!