Is 2019 the Year You Shift Your Blog into the NextGear?

Happy New Year everyone! It’s been a little while since I posted my last article, but the holidays kept me busy and it was a nice break. I hope everyone out there had a great holiday season.

Success in 2019

2019 is upon us. I hope to make this my best year ever and I expect all small business owners are looking to do the same. The new year brings new motivation to try new ideas, implement different strategies and seek out exciting opportunities for business growth. You have a fresh marketing budget to work with and it’s time to shift things into the NextGear.

Yes, that’s a purposeful play on words because NextGear Marketing is here to help you with your marketing needs. If you need custom content, advertising, print marketing, graphic design, consultation or copywriting, let us be your resource. Our rates are affordable and our service is personalized to your specific marketing objectives.

Business Blogging

At NextGear Marketing, one of our specialties is blogging for small businesses. If you already have a blog on your website, we can help you get the most out of it with custom-written articles, social media integration, links, tags and other effective SEO strategies. NextGear can manage your weekly blog (or whatever frequency you wish to post).

If you don’t have a blog, NextGear Marketing can get you started on the right foot with a custom blogging package. A good business blog will increase organic site traffic and improve SEO while engaging past, present and future customers with informative and relatable content.

You could task someone in the office to manage your blog, but are they content experts? Or, you could outsource your blog to NextGear Marketing and benefit from our approach at a fraction of the price it would cost you to hire someone on staff (and also much less that other larger marketing agencies would charge for a blog package).

Whether you want to get started with a great blog package or any other marketing needs you have, contact NextGear Marketing today for a no-obligation consultation.

Is Print Marketing Dead?

Though most of my focus these days is on content marketing and digital media, my background is in print marketing. I still help many of my clients with their print marketing needs, including brochure designs, direct mail campaigns, print advertisements stationery, business cards and whatever other print pieces they require.

Print Marketing is Not Dead

Though it’s definitely now a digital world we live in, print marketing is far from dead. In fact, I know a lot of small businesses that still generate a lot of customers through direct mail campaigns and print advertising in local publications.

The biggest key to effective print marketing for a small business is to have specified target audiences. Just as Facebook allows you to hone in on specific demographics when placing an ad, you have to think the same way when it comes to who sees your print pieces. It cannot be a shotgun approach or you will waste a lot of money.

Direct Mail Strategy

Direct mail is a prime example of this point. It would simply not be cost-effective to send out a weekly mailer piece to everyone within a 100-mile radius. That would be nice, but it would be really expensive and the return on investment just wouldn’t be there to justify the exorbitant costs to run such a massive direct mail campaign.

You can create your mailing lists based on more localized geographic factors (certain neighborhoods or zip codes with residents who represent your desired target audience). Or, you can generate lists based on other factors, such as people who have opted in on your website or purchased lists based on various demographic profiles. However you generate your mailing list, the idea is to be more focused rather than just sending out postcards willy nilly and hoping for good results.

It’s also very important to be consistent. Too many people make the mistake of sending postcards to one list for a month and then moving onto a different list the next month. If you jump around from list to list, you will never establish a strong brand presence. Direct mail often takes time. It’s a cumulative impact of someone seeing your mailers often that generally gets them to eventually take action. Be careful not to panic and keep changing your target because you won’t get anywhere with that strategy.

Print Advertising

The same goes for print advertising. Look for publications (or specific sections in the newspaper) that attract consumers who are more likely to be interested in your products or services. Then, run targeted ads and keep them running consistently to build brand loyalty over time. Again, if you keep jumping around, then you’ll never really establish anything meaningful in their minds.

Though you should always keep an eye on your results and adjust things based on trial and error, you have to have patience. Print marketing is a matter of commitment and consistency. When done right, however, it can still be a very powerful business-building tool. When done in unison with effective content/digital marketing, you might be amazed at the results you can achieve.

If you need help with your marketing—print, digital, content or otherwise—NextGear Marketing is here to serve you. Just let us know how we can be of service with affordable marketing solutions and powerful results. Contact us today!

 

Be Willing to Adapt, Evolve and Try New Things

Last week, I was down at the Omni La Costa Resort in Carlsbad, CA. I was invited down there with a group of golfers to test out some new pieces of equipment. If you follow golf at all, you’ve probably already seen GolfBoards advertised. They have become reasonably popular in recent years. They are basically a single-rider motorized skateboard (with a handle) that will hold you and your clubs. They are fun to ride and I tried them out some time ago.

GolfBoards came along to break from golf tradition of walking or riding in a typical two-person golf cart. In addition to the GolfBoards, La Costa was also having some of us try out the newer Phat Scooters. These are basically two-wheeled motorcycles/mopeds that have a rack on back to strap your clubs onto. It’s a similar concept to the GolfBoard, but they are a bit easier to ride for people that may be older or less coordinated. At the same time, they are probably more dangerous because of the less stable two-wheeled design and heavier overall weight.

What’s the Point?

Anyway, the point of my story is that golf courses are starting to embrace these alternative modes of on-course transportation. It’s a way to generate some new business and revive interest in a sport that has struggled economically in recent years. Time will tell if these more “fun” rides will boost business, but at least they are trying something new in a sport that is generally stuck in its old ways.

This is a lesson that can be applied to any part of life. You should be willing to adapt, evolve and try new things. It’s what helps you grow, learn and keep a fresh perspective on things.

Applying the Same Philosophy to Marketing

This is also a very important marketing strategy to adopt. Just look at how the marketplace has changed in the past 10-20 years thanks to technology. Social media, smartphones/tablets and other innovations have completely changed the way a lot of consumers process information. This will only continue to evolve along with the trends and technology.

As a business owner, you must be willing to try new things and keep adapting the way you do business—as well as the ways you market your business. Stay on top of trends and try small-scale campaigns using different types of media and approaches. Eventually, you will be able to keep refining and maximizing your results. Odds are, by the time you perfect one strategy, a whole new marketing idea will come along and you will need to keep shifting your approach to keep up with the times. If you are proactive in embracing new ideas rather than reactive, you will see the difference.

The Time is Now

So, look at all the opportunities around you and start trying some new methods of generating business. They may not all work for you, but I guarantee some will work really well if you are committed and willing to adapt to ever-changing trends.

For a free marketing review, contact NextGear Marketing today. We’ll be happy to look at what you are currently doing and help you explore ideas about what you could be doing in the future.

Don’t Be Afraid to Take Marketing Risks

Happy Friday the 13th everyone! Every time one of these dates rolls around, we all feel that little chill running down our spines thinking about Jason running wild at Camp Crystal Lake.

It’s okay to be afraid of machete-wielding maniacs, but when it comes to your marketing, fear should not be a deterrent. Now, of course you don’t want to go broke trying every marketing idea you can think of and hoping one sticks. However, you shouldn’t be afraid to try new things and take a few marketing risks from time to time.

Perhaps it’s exploring targeted ads, boosted posts or sponsored posts on social media to try and increase website traffic or direct response activity. Maybe it’s time to rethink your website approach. Consider rewriting some of your core content to freshen things up or start up a business blog. Maybe you already have a blog but you play it pretty safe. Take a few chances, talk (carefully) about controversial topics relating to your industry and see what you can do to get more eyes on your articles while also sparking more online conversations.

Also, don’t give up right away if something doesn’t generate immediate results. Most marketing efforts take time to produce meaningful returns. Give it some time to marinate and make adjustments as needed to fine tune your approach with any given medium you are exploring.

There is always something new to try when it comes to marketing, so don’t be afraid to take a few risks from time to time. You just might discover a game changer.

For help with your marketing approach and a web content consultation, contact NextGear Marketing today!

Are You the Master of Your Marketing?

Last week, I was excited about Opening Day of Major League Baseball. This weekend is another one of my favorite sporting events of the year, The Masters. Whether you are a golf fan or not, this is a captivating tournament where the star of the event is usually the course itself.

Augusta National Golf Club is one of the most famous golf courses in the world, and for good reason. It is an exceptional design and it is simply gorgeous thanks to pristine conditioning, a beautiful natural setting and excellent landscaping.

Augusta National opened in 1933 and it has stood the test of time. However, it has also evolved with the times. The course has been lengthened to keep up with the modern game and technological advances in clubs and balls. It has been through some renovations and certain details have been tweaked over the years. New trees have grown and matured while some significant trees have been lost during storms. Though things have changed, the course’s spirit has always remained the same.

There is a marketing lesson to be learned here. Even the best golf course in the world has evolved over time. Even if you started your business with the best marketing plan ever, it will get outdated. Things change and new marketing opportunities sprout up regularly. With the evolution of technology, these evolutions will only continue to speed up.

As a marketer, you need to be adaptable. You need to change with the times and take advantage of every opportunity presented to you. At the same time, you don’t want to lose your spirit. This is your brand message and it should remain consistent no matter what media you are using to market your business.

To be successful, you have to evolve without compromising your integrity. Never lose sight of what makes your business successful in the first place, but always be looking for new ways to improve, adjust and add to your marketing campaign. Set aside time throughout the year to take stock of all your marketing efforts. Keep what is working. Remove or adjust what is not working and don’t be afraid to try some new things to see if they will work. Continue making adjustments and never rest on your laurels. Marketing is something you can never truly “Master” because it’s continually evolving, but if you put in the effort you can effectively evolve with it.

For help with your small business marketing and content, contact NextGear Marketing today.

 

It’s Time to Play Ball!

Today is Opening Day in Major League Baseball! It is one of my favorite days of the year, and it’s pretty much a national holiday in my eyes. Spring training is complete, the rosters are set and the teams are ready to take the field (weather permitting in some parts of the country).

April is Already Here!

From a business perspective, the start of the baseball season is a stark reminder that we’re already a quarter of the way through 2018. Three months have passed! It’s a good time to think about all your New Year’s Resolutions and your business plan. How well are you doing on those goals? Where is there room for improvement? What do you need to do to make the next three quarters as successful as possible?

Swing Hard

When it comes to your marketing plan, now is the time to make sure you get off the fence and onto the playing field. Perhaps that means being more active on social media. It may mean starting a business blog—or at least ramping up your efforts on the blog you started at the beginning of the year yet has already fallen by the wayside. It could be time to revisit your website content and assess how everything have performed so far in 2018.

The point is it’s time for you to play ball and position your business for success in April and beyond. Don’t let another year slip by without positive steps forward. Take a hard look at what you’ve done so far this year, re-assess your goals and take action to achieve them.

Your Marketing Coach

If you want professional help with your business blog, web content or marketing strategy, we’re here to help. Contact NextGear Marketing today for a no-obligation consultation and marketing review.

Defining Your Marketing Duties

This week, I was called in for jury duty. It’s something nobody looks forward to and most people try to find a way to get out of, but it is a responsibility we all face as adult members of our society.

Ultimately, my summons was much ado about nothing. I showed up at the courthouse and was dismissed immediately because the case had already settled out of court. Still, I showed up anyway because it was my civic duty.

The brief experience made me think of the concept of duty, especially as it relates to small business marketing. Do your marketing duties have defined roles? Do you have the people and resources in place to accomplish all the necessary duties? How can you be better at getting all these important marketing duties done efficiently and effectively?

In this article, we’ll look at some of the most vital marketing duties/roles that you need to account for. Whether they are all done by one person, spread out across various team members internally or shopped out to marketing service specialists, you want these duties to be covered. If you get lax or ignore these marketing activities, you lose out on great opportunities to grow your business.

Marketing Manager

Somebody in your company needs to assume the role as marketing manager. This is the person who oversees marketing strategy, budget and execution. Every construction site needs a good foreman to supervise and organize the work being done. The marketing manager essentially fills this same role with a specific oversight of marketing activities.

Media Planner/Buyer

A marketing plan and budget are set, so someone has to be responsible for spending the money effectively. Media planning and buying are very technical (and actually different) roles that need to be covered for an effective marketing campaign.

Creative Director

Much like a marketing manager, but even more focused on a specific objective, a creative director is there to oversee the creative aspects of a marketing campaign. They make sure the brand message is being conveyed properly and defined marketing objectives are being achieved.

Copywriter

You need a good copywriter to effectively communicate brand messages, sales points and other key information in any marketing materials being developed.

Graphic Designer

Whereas the copywriter is focused on content, the graphic designer is responsible for creating the visual components of your marketing campaign.

Web Developer

Web development is a very specialized and important role in today’s marketing world. You need someone (or a whole web development company) who is well-versed on creating, hosting and maintaining your company’s website.

SEO Specialist

Search engine optimization is so important these days, and it is a very specialized skill. If you really want to maximize your online presence, SEO needs to be a major priority.

Blogger

Blogging is a specialized type of writing that requires a different skillset than a typical marketing copywriter. Also, someone needs to be devoted to your business blog content to make sure things get posted regularly. It can’t just be a “we’ll get to it when we get to it” duty.

Social Media Expert

Any business not fully integrated into social media is missing out on a huge opportunity in today’s ultra-connected world. A social media expert will take your business to the next level.

There are other specialized marketing duties that you may want to define for your specific business or company configuration, but these are some of the most important roles you’ll want to have covered. Doing it all by yourself can be extremely daunting and hiring extra full-time employees can be beyond your budget. That’s why many small businesses turn to specialized service providers like NextGear Marketing for help with certain marketing duties.

Our specialty is blogging for small businesses, though we can also help with any copywriting, web content, SEO and graphic design services you require. Contact NextGear Marketing today for more information and to set up a no-obligation marketing review.