Advertising and Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

When it comes to marketing and advertising your business, it is essential to develop a good marketing plan. Even the most solid plan, however can still fail if it is not implemented correctly. Avoiding these common advertising and marketing mistakes can help.

One mistake that many businesses make is to not market to a defined group or demographic. While it is important to appeal to a wide target audience possible, failing to identify your key demographic will keep your business from reaching the customers who are most interest in the product or service you have to offer. Focus your advertisements to appeal to your target audience, and you will naturally attract more business.

Effective marketing is based on a cohesive advertising strategy, so once you develop a logo and theme for your ads and promotions, make sure that you stick with it. A marketing strategy that is inconsistent will make your company look unfocused and unprofessional. This does not mean that you should focus your advertising and marketing efforts on one medium, however. Many businesses make this mistake because they are unfamiliar with certain mediums.

Don’t allow unfamiliarity with technology to hinder your marketing campaign. Make sure that you utilize all available media sources whenever possible, including television, print ads, radio, and online advertising. Many businesses fail to utilize online advertising tactics because they are unfamiliar with the technology. If this is the case, be sure to take the time to learn, and search for sites that make it easy for you to upload your video advertisements, even if you have little or no experience with this type of medium.

In the process of trying to attract new business, don’t make the common mistake of neglecting your repeat customers. Repeat customers make up an estimated 80 percent of most revenue, so be sure to target your marketing campaigns toward them as well. If your marketing message is unclear, however both new and repeat customers will be confused. Consistency is the key to achieving brand reputation.

The most effective marketing and advertising campaigns take into account the measure of their marketing results, so be sure to keep close track of what works and what doesn’t. Don’t be afraid to try new things and to discard ideas that don’t work for your business. Remember, the best marketing strategies are the ones that evolve and grow over time to meet the changing needs of a business, its target audience, and emerging technology.

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Top 10 Ways a Creative Artist Can Make Money

Artists are creative creatures that live each day to be inspired and inspire others. It is a gift that many share without ever asking payment for what they are really worth. If you are an artists remember that you are talented. You can continue to build upon the creative process and bring home an income that can fuel bigger projects and get you more exposure. Passion will drive you crazy but is there any other way to live as said by Howard Hughes. Turn your passion into a wealth of income.

The leap into profiting from your art can seem scary. You never have to compromise. You can always remain true to the spirit of your work. An artist never has to let go of his or her inspiration. Many are able to ignite a yearning that has long been inside them and create bigger masterpieces. These masterpieces need money to come into fruition. In the end you can achieve more than what you ever expected with these simple top ten tips.

1. Blog about your art or show case your art through your blogs.
2. Add Google AdSense to your artistic blog.
3. Create fun and innovative workshops and show case your talent while you teach others how to do the same.
4. Are you an artist such as a painter contact local coffee shops, small boutiques and shops in your town and ask if they can show case your art in exchange for a nominal fee or a percentage of the profits.
5. Are you a writer showcase your talents at local coffee shops, book stores, or open mic nights. How do you make money? Let the vendor charge a small nominal fee for others to come and hear you. You can take a percentage of the profits.
6. Showcase your art and sell it on others sites and share the profits. Start with your friends.
7. Time and time again we have seen it succeed for others but we forget that we to can benefit from social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace.

May this journey inspire you to learn more about yourself and help you to become the expert in your creative field.

Bonnielee Cuevas is a successful Author, Business Coach, Entrepreneur, Fitness and Wellness Expert, and Motivational Speaker. She has inspired many through her entrepreneurial ventures, books, and coaching. Her goal is to inspire others through various avenues. Through inspiration she has also had the pleasure of creative amazing programs that assist others in achieving their dreams. For more information visit: http://www.bonnieleecuevas.com

What’s Your Plan?

So often we get caught up in our success or the crisis of the moment. We are reacting to everything that’s happening around us. We forget to ask ourselves, “why are we doing this?” We lose sight of our goals or we don’t update the targets. Without that awareness and ability to change and adapt, we can’t be successful.

Here’s the best part: a business plan doesn’t have to be in-depth in order to help guide you. There’s no need to think that building your plan is an overwhelming task that demands huge time or resources to develop. But the plan should include some fundamental elements, including understanding where your business comes from and the strategies and tactics you will execute in order to succeed. You’ll never know if you’re making a wrong turn or wrong investment if you don’t have a plan to benchmark.

Way back when, in the days when you first started selling, life was pretty easy. You’d grab a prospect list and, one by one, begin calling names, starting with the letter A, of course, at the top. Customers were eager to meet with you to hear what new services you had to provide, which would make their company more profitable. You knew it all back then. You were a leading sales rep, one who manufacturers sought out because of your talent and expertise in the field.

Over time, you built relationships with these contacts, slowly transitioning from the “getting to know you” stage to business partners, and now you’re friends. These are the “customers” with whom you now golf, exchange birthday cards, attend holiday parties, and know each other’s spouses and children. You have essentially taken a potential business lead and customer and turned this person into a buddy.

Now you’re scratching your head and wondering why sales calls are so hard and tedious. What made you unique years ago is now run of the mill. Superstar VARs or others selling on price have crept into your territory, grabbing your business. Internet purchasing simplifies ordering replacement parts or accessories via the Web. While your customer may value your relationship, it’s easy to save time by using the Web. Deep down, you know you can no longer act like “just a sales rep,” and need to think like a business person. You need a process and plan for overcoming changes and a way to anticipate these changes and reinforce your business value. Consultants and business planning books/templates can be overwhelming. Where do you start?

You’re already working lots of hours in the day; creating a time-consuming plan might not be a wise choice. Instead, create a business temperature check – a basic plan that helps you chart your course and determine what obstacles and benefits are in your path.

1. Create a basic plan. Let’s take a step back and think about your core beliefs and values. What vision do you have for your business? What type of company are you trying to be or become? How do you want your current and future customers to view your business? Your answers to these questions will bring your vision into focus.

2. Determine why your current customers are working with you (or looking elsewhere), and create a plan to retain them. You’ve invested time and expertise with these folks. It’s OK that they have become your buddies. Now you need to grow and nurture that special relationship into something fruitful for all.

Chances are, your manufacturer never asks you to share your business plan or marketing strategies. If asked, do you even have those in place? If not, why should your customer want to invest time and money with you? If you applied for a loan with a bank, the bank would ask you for a copy of your business plan as part of their investment strategy. Why are your manufacturers or customers any different than a bank? They’re investing in a partnership with you too. They want to know what your plan is to determine whether or not they want to work with you.

3. Take a holistic approach to finding out who you are. Look at yourself and your business and locate the gaps in your approach. It is challenging and sometimes a bit unnerving to admit to your weaknesses, but this is a fundamental business requirement. You must do a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis on yourself and your business in order to maintain and then grow your customer base and bottom line. What are your strengths? Play those up. What are your weaknesses? Find partners and build relationships to bridge those gaps. Where are the opportunities to grow your business? Often, these lie in correcting the weaknesses. Who or what are your major threats? Don’t be fooled. Doing a SWOT analysis on yourself is tough, but the results will be eye-opening and help provide focus for advancing your business.

4. Spend time writing down your goals. With the fast-paced change in today’s world, it pays to re-evaluate the road you’re following. Will it lead you to success or a dead end? Write down some realistic goals. Try to identify key traits that are unique to your business – things that only you can provide and determine how you can leverage those to increase your uniqueness in the market. What makes you unique in today’s market? Write it down. On paper, you may shockingly realize that you’re not that special or maybe you are, tell your story in the best way possible. Write down all the key opportunities you may have. What kind of promotions and ideas do you have that your customers would be eager to invest in? Manufacturers will look to you as the chart maker, to be in tune with the marketplace and will want you to help them see the trends coming before their competitors do. They will seek out VARs who have good channels and prosperous networks, and they will weed out those who suck up time and energy (like long, personal sales calls) that don’t bear results. It’s not just about the sales call and status quo selling anymore. You’re a smart business person. You need to focus on profits and not allow yourself to be swept up in the emotional aspect of the business.

Bottom line. Step back. Re-evaluate and make a plan. Determine what your manufacturers need and what services you have that will help them. Capitalize on your strengths and improve on your weaknesses. Then use your newfound sales tools to dazzle your existing customers again like you did years ago. Deepen your customer relationships and new leads will follow.

A dedicated marketing professional, Michelle Kabele has been helping technology companies develop award-winning channel partner programs and marketing strategies for over 10 years. Michelle has worked extensively with small businesses throughout North America.

Michelle has an MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management (Evanston, Ill.)