I always like to see what small business owners are doing to create a buzz and promote their services. The more unique, the more I remember – and hopefully that’s the case with attracting your target audience. The #1 objective is to stand out and get noticed. If you get a buying reaction that sticks, you’ve hit a home run!

Taglines aren’t a necessity for every business, but they can help to explain your product or service, or give a valuable reminder of why your prospects should pick YOU!

Here are 5 tips for creating memorable taglines:

  1. Make your tagline clear. Don’t confuse your customers with off-subject phrases which aren’t in sync with your product or brand. Complement your company name, url and what you’re selling.
  2. Describe who you are or what you do. Words are a tool to use to communicate, but you’ve only got a few seconds here. Make your tagline simple so everyone can understand. You’ve got some freedom if you want to describe a feature, benefit or make a strong claim.
  3. Paint a picture of your services. Your tagline can create a vision in your customer’s eye. What is it that you’d like them to know about buying your products and services? You don’t have to be literal in creating a vision. And, you don’t have to be bland!
  4. Create a feeling or hit one of the five senses. Is there a certain button you can push to create a sense of urgency or make you the ‘go to’ provider? You don’t always have to be serious, fun is allowed.  Test your tagline on your circle of influence, even if it’s at your kitchen table!
  5. Write copy that resonates with your customers and your brand. You don’t have to imitate anyone. Just be you. Does your tagline tell your story?  Does it say who you are? How does it make you feel?

Here’s an example of a tagline and mobile ad I saw in South Carolina. I liked it for a few reasons. The graphic was very clear and the tagline clever.

Tagline photo

 

If I lived in the area and saw this van on the road, I would definitely want to go to this restaurant for a BBQ!

Sometimes we can’t see the forest through the trees. We overlook the obvious and make things hard on ourselves. We reinvent the wheel. Fly across the country to make new business contacts. Why don’t we harvest the fruit in our own backyard?

This week’s Rainmaker is about making local connections.

Even if your business isn’t tied to your current location – which is awesome in its own right – there may be uncovered treasure in your local market to tap into. I’m referring to local scholars and professors, consultants, executives and business owners within an hour from where you live.

Connecting with these professionals may gain you access to an entirely new level of connections. So, how do you go about meeting these local treasures?

First, I recommend you join Meetup.com and find local networking groups and events. By using the search function, you can look up professional events and groups in your geographical area. By joining a specific group, you can also check out the online profiles of current members and even connect with them online before attending a live event. That way, you have a friend in waiting when you’re ready to explore!

Next, check out EventBrite.com and search for your location. You’ll find business events, workshops, large conferences as well as fun activities like local 5K running events. It’s a great tool to keep tabs on what’s going on in your neighborhood or other areas or communities that you’re interested in. Unlike Meetup, EventBrite lets you connect with event coordinators only, not other participants.

Two other great sources for local networking events and opportunities are local colleges and universities.  You can extend that as well to include your local Chamber of Commerce, professional organizations with business workshops and one of my favorites, listings in your city’s Business Journal – a goldmine of information, leads and opportunities.

Lastly, networking at Costco is a ‘secret weapon’ for those of us in-the-know. Many local Costcos offer a free, monthly networking opportunity in their warehouse with breakfast included. It’s a great place to meet other likeminded local small business owners – even if it’s just for a coffee.

What do you do with these connections? My #1 recommendation is to follow up on LinkedIn once you’ve met in person to continue the conversations online, or make a date for coffee.

A small coffee shop works best for me, with a choice of bold brew. You?

As a Brand Ambassador and Promotions Expert who works with big and small brands, the question “what does branding really mean?” comes up often. Being on-brand, online branding, off line branding, brand awareness. One thing I’m very aware of is the money spent to see that it’s done right!

Brand it right or brand it wrong, being focused and on target with your messaging is important and key to establishing a look and feel — as well as a social identity for your product or service, and the revenue that it will generate.

This week, I’d like to share a few branding articles I hope you’ll find interesting;

First up, let’s look at 3 ways brands are marketing nostalgia in the age of throwback Thursday from Entrepreneur.com. “As millennials become increasingly important as customers, brands have started heaping on the nostalgia to woo them over.” If your target audience includes millennials, or any other older generation, take a look at this article on how to ‘reel them in’ using nostalgia!  (Remember Reading Rainbow?)

Next I’d like to share a video which is actually a Google Hangout On Air about ‘Branding for Small Businesses’. In this video, Lauren Zirilli, Vistaprint’s Director of Global Brand Strategy, talks about how small business can build their own brand. See what you think!

In Content Lessons From Three Brands That Kept Their Brand Promise (and Three That Didn’t) by Marketing Profs, we learn  that “content marketing has the power to help companies articulate and communicate the brand promise—which goes beyond a corporate mission statement. Marketers can craft content that shows what they really stand for.” One of the three brands highlighted is Subway, with their lifestyle campaign, ‘Eat Fresh.’

How is your brand standing out online and is your brand message consistent with your marketing message?

Every month we’re featuring a guest blogger who writes on a topic I think you’d be interested in as a small business owner, entrepreneur or professional who wants to increase their company’s recognition, awareness level or leadership position – and maximize their marketing and PR dollars for promotional ROI.

Today’s blog article is from my client, Robert Rebholz, Co-founder of www.WeSellVisibility.com and industry insider who sells promotional products with ‘zing’ for not that much ‘ca-ching’.

Robert uses his talent for writing and takes advantage of that in his branding to keep in touch with customers, tell a story and make it entertaining.  You definitely want to check out his ‘Pick of the Week’, especially if you buy promo products and hate the SOSO (same old same old) — or any mistakes!

The ABC’s of Buying Promotional Products – by Robert Rebholz  

Promotional products, (also called swag, giveaways, tchotchkes, bling, premiums,) can be a very effective and cost efficient way to advertise and promote your business. And here’s why:

  • 80% of consumers own between 1 and 10 promotional products
  • 60% keep them for up to 2 years
  • 53% use a promotional product at least once a week or more often
  • 88% of people who have received a promo item recalled the advertiser for up to 12 months after receiving the item
  • 62% of these people recalled the advertiser’s message

Studies show only 71% of people can recall an ad they saw in a newspaper or magazine from the week before!

Here’s the point I want you to take away:  this stuff works, people hang onto it, and they use it.

A promotional item does not have to be expensive to be effective. It does need to be useful. Useful items are retained, and that’s what you want as an advertiser.

But, what’s useful? Well, that depends on where you want to be remembered.

Do you want to be remembered in the office? Then think about items like notebooks, sticky pads, pens, desk accessories, wall calendars.

Do you want to be remembered in the home? Then you would consider things like kitchen utensils, magnetic memo boards for the fridge, tote bags, coasters, BBQ tools.

Interested in items that can work anywhere? Think about cell phone chargers, USB drives, water bottles, umbrellas, caps and T-shirts. (Note) Notebooks and sticky notes work everywhere.

Think about who you are going to give this stuff to and what they would find useful.

Alright, you’ve thought about all of the above. You’ve decided you can use promotional products to advertise your business. Here’s what you need to know about buying these items:

  • All items will have a minimum purchase quantity. On less expensive items that minimum might be 100 to 250 pieces. Sometimes you can buy less than the minimum but you’ll be surcharged.
  • All items will have a maximum imprint area. That’s the largest available area for imprinting your logo. The point is — don’t try to print everything about your company on the side of a pen. It won’t work.

It’s also good to know about industry terms and what they mean:

Artwork (that’s what the industry calls your logo or whatever design you’re going to put on your promo item), needs to be in the proper format. The universal format for promo items is what’s called “vector art.” It’s too complicated to go into it here but vector art is a high resolution file that won’t distort and will print clearly. Jpeg, tiff and giff files won’t work. If your logo isn’t in “vector art,” spend the money to get it created in this format.

Colors There are “spot” colors (think of one or two distinct colors on a T-shirt design), and there is “full color process” (think of a refrigerator magnet that looks like a full color photo). When you see the catalog price for an item it includes the first color. Every color you add is going to cost extra.

Set up is the charge to prepare your artwork for whatever process is being used to imprint your item.

Time One of the problems with technology is that we’ve all become accustomed to instant everything.

The problem is that this is a manufacturing process and it takes time. Most products will take somewhere between 7 to 10 business days to produce. Add to that the shipping time. Many of the industry suppliers are located in California and that’s 5 days by ground to the East coast or less, depending on where your business is located. Allow yourself a good 2 to 3 weeks to have your order produced and shipped.

Proof  A proof is a virtual representation of what your design is going to look like on your product. Always insist on a proof and always go over it with a fine toothed comb. The last thing you want is for your 1,000 pens to arrive with a typo!

What can go wrong?  Everything!

The two areas where a project can go wrong are artwork and time. Have your logo (in several  versions) in the proper format before you start your order. Give yourself enough time to deal with any glitches that might come up.

And now, a quick word or two about pricing.

You can get pretty much any promotional product through an on-line distributor. Their prices are often lower than what a local distributor might be able to show you. They work on huge volumes and small margins. If you know exactly what you want and don’t need any help, this might be the way to go. If you need advice and guidance you should go with a local distributor. As someone famous once said, “you get what you pay for.”

You now know:

  • Promotional products work as a way to advertise and brand your company.
  • Pick something that’ s useful to your target audience
  • Have your logo (in several acceptable to you versions) prepared in the proper format well before you begin the ordering.
  • Give yourself enough time

If you stick to these guidelines you will have a successful promotional product campaign.

Thanks to Robert for sharing this mini course on premiums and promotional products. With over 30 years’ experience as a marketer and helping businesses ‘getting noticed’, you’ll always get solid advice and be in good hands! 

It was an exciting week presenting my new workshop, 5 Ways Social Media Can Get You More Sales, Customers and Profits, at the Small Business Expo in Boston. Thank you to all who attended and followed up personally. It’s an exciting time for Social PR and it’s critical to a company’s branding and success – whether you’re a solo business owner, or the biggest fish in any pond!

I love sharing great articles by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs and giving credit where credit is due. The article How to Create an Elevator Pitch That Will Get You Funded by Steve Blank gives detailed information and some great tips on how to perfect your elevator pitch (or speech). Whether you’re looking to get funding or need to promote your consulting services, perfecting your elevator pitch is one of the most important things you’ll want to accomplish this week. Get a few great ‘how to’ tips here from Entrepreneur.com.

You may be familiar with HARO, but do you know about their parent company, Vocus? They’ve got an active and well-read blog that hits the in boxes of industry insiders, experts and small business owners around the globe. I liked this article 9 Things You Should Consider in Your PR Plan by Jim Dougherty because it lays out a PR Plan, clearly step by step. Work on one, three or all nine to improve your current PR plan. (And, if you don’t have a plan, we have to talk!)

Lastly, we’re featuring The Power of Testimonials (and How We Get Great Ones) written by Alex Turnbull.  This is a MUST read for anyone in business. Here’s one little snippet we’ve highlighted, but take a minute to click on the link to learn more.

“Good testimonials aren’t fluffy; they communicate very specifically the type of person the testimonial writer is and the type of problem they’ve been able to overcome. This helps readers put themselves in the storyteller’s shoes.”

And that’s a wrap for this week’s edition of Robin’s Rainmakers! If you ever have a suggestion for a great article to feature, please send me an email. I’d love to include it here.

September always seems to bring a new energy to work, and if you’re like me, the pace has really picked up!

The Partner Promotions event team has been promoting the Xfinity brand at 125 events over the last three weeks, we’re gearing up for the IBM sponsored Women’s Tool Box Conference on 9/15,  Mara Glazer’s BizCon14 event in Silver Springs, MD 9/18 – 21, and my workshop and booth at the Small Business Expo in Boston on October 2. Sometimes, it’s fast and furious – and we run with it.

That said, what are you doing with your business over the next month?

Are you thinking about how to get press coverage for your business, product or service – and ways to  pitch the media and other JV partners?

Here are 5 Important Tips on How To Pitch so you won’t give up or go crazy thinking it’s too hard: 

  1. When pitching, make sure you have the right person you want to approach.  Do your homework and research.  Look at the magazine, newspaper or blog where you’d like to be featured and notice their style. How would ‘you’ fit in?
  2. You’ve heard it a million times, and I’ll tell you again. Make your pitch short.  One PR mentor told me to make my pitch 50 words.  Yikes – that’s hard, but putting information through the funnel gives your messaging clarity.
  3. Editors, journalists and reporters WANT to be pitched and are looking for a solution to a problem. Your pitch should include a way you can help their viewers/readers.  They’re looking for the HOW. That’s where you share – your story, best tips, ways to overcome, fix, increase, and help their AUDIENCE with their problem – on air, in an interview, on camera and so on.
  4. Don’t forget to tell your media contact who you are, why you’re the best candidate for the job, and a link to your website, plus contact information.  No attachments please!
  5. But, make sure above all, that you always KISS – Keep It Simple and Sensational!

Ditch the old pitch, and energize with the new!

YOUR TURN

Have you noticed a pattern with certain reporters in the way that they like to be pitched?

What’s your favorite success story from a pitch?

Have you pitched via Twitter or Facebook with great results?  Do tell!

RSI ComplainI’m constantly amazed at how much people complain. Not just small business owners and entrepreneurs telling their woes of not enough business, working too hard, or having enough time. Everyone is complaining and it’s almost an epidemic!

It’s not that I don’t sympathize. I do, to a certain degree. But when people are in a whining state, they’re not in the state they should be – the present, thinking about what their campaign of action is going to be.

Collectively, I’ve listened to problems in every phase of a company’s growth or demise. Heartfelt and game changing discussions have been over coffee, tequila, candle light celebrations, and more than a campfire or two.

Ultimately, successful people are accountable to themselves. They don’t have to be in PR, marketing, or branding. They decide when enough is enough. Complaining offers an easy way to avoid that. Campaigning is about putting action steps into place. I believe it’s always better to campaign than complain. And, here’s why:

3 Reasons Why it’s Better to Campaign than Complain

  1. It’s boring to hear the same complaints day after day. If you want to be engaging, you need to switch up the story and come from a higher place. No woo woo here. Just the facts. Change the vibration, and the attitude. You’ll see amazing results and not be stuck in the past. Think boo hoo, get boo hoo.
  2. Everyone wants to work with a winner. Seriously, do you want to work with a loser? If so, please unsubscribe me from your list and life. I want to associate with the best of the best to learn and grow. Sad sacks aren’t on my prospect list. Show your best stuff and then give it. It always works out.
  3. Winning is contagious. Winning not only builds self-confidence, but a portfolio of success stories. Stories and testimonials which build credibility and trust – which in turn increases recognition, expert status, leadership position, revenue opportunities. Call me if you want to talk about how winning helps grow a business. I’d like to connect a voice with a name.

A campaign has intention, a goal and spirit. A campaign is a string of action items to help you realize your dreams. Create a campaign and you won’t feel-the-pain.

YOUR TURN

What has to happen to take you from being a complainer to a campaigner?

How do you keep winning contagious? Do you have secrets you’d like to share?

If you had 3 best practices for letting clients know you were a winner, what would they be?

Right now, I’m campaigning for my new client who’s hopeful of a Grammy® nomination this year – and who believes in world peace, Divine Love, and humanity.

What are you campaigning for? Share your answers below…

 

RSI RainsApril showers bring May flowers — in your yard and sometimes in your business. Showers come unexpectedly and rain dampens the best intentions of a well thought out plan. What’s a small business owner, expert or marketer to do when it rains, or worse downpours on all your hard work?

Plan(t)!

PPrepare for the worst and expect the best. I once had a boss who insisted we bring 40 bricks to an event in case the wind was blowing and we needed to secure sponsor table skirts. It seemed over the top at the time, but the lesson was learned and we saved them for a ‘rainy day’. I know they’ll come in handy for that yellow brick road…

L Listen to your intuition. More than a handful of times, I’ve been swayed to make a decision to ‘save the day’, but the decision was based on someone else’s vision of what the outcome should be. If you’re ‘saving your day’, make your decision based on your inner guidance. Czech in (I’m in Prague, couldn’t resist), be open and surrender to what reveals itself next.

AAsk a mentor. Many of us have been blessed with a mentor, or a group of colleagues that we trust. If you’re in a pickle, and it’s not so sweet, be brave, be vulnerable and ask for help. There’s a certain calm that comes with asking and temporarily stopping the swirl. The answer may not be what you want to hear, but it may be what you need to know.

NNever forget that today too shall pass. When the bottom is falling out, keep the pieces together by staying in focus, working off a list and remembering that in less than 18 hours, you can go to bed and tomorrow will be a new day. A new day and a new dawn, coupled with some sleep, recharge even the weariest souls.

TThink about your role in this snafu. Do you believe that in some way we’re creatures of our own cause and effect? There’s a great lesson to be learned when we reflect upon our own behavior and how it impacts our personal and business bottom line. We typically attract what happens to us and in some of the most bizarre ways, it serves us and mirrors our beliefs.

Rainy days are inevitable, as are storms – in life and in business. It’s your strategy for weathering the storm that makes the difference, and whether you bring your boots on the journey.

YOUR TURN

If it rains on your business for what seems like 10 days, how do you not get soaked?

Are you a believer in ‘if it rains it pours?’ If so, what have you learned from the downpour?

What shift is necessary to turn a downpour into a flood of opportunity?

Please share your answers below.

Do you remember your first visit to NYC? Were you in awe? Overwhelmed? Excited by the buzz?

Last week, I took my 14 year old niece to NYC for some holiday magic and together time. It was our first trip alone — outside of going to our lake house in NH. She had her first massage, her first ride on NYC’s subway system, attended her first Broadway play (Matilda) and we shopped till we dropped. Think of the world’s largest H & M store in Times Square + having Auntie Robin at your side!

Here’s a picture of us as we headed toward the Top of the Rock Observation Deck at Rockefeller Center. On all floors, what a view of the city! Even my cousin, who is an up and coming casting director, had never seen the view from the 70th floor!

Shopping and the Arts aside – both of which I enjoy – the focus I’m writing about is not just about ‘good times’, but first impressions. They’re important to think about as part of your personal and business brand, marketing and PR plan and voice as a professional, small business owner or entrepreneur.

When you meet someone for the first time, do you leave a good impression? When someone visits your website or talks with you after a presentation, what are their first impressions? Are you aware of what you do, or don’t do that attracts them or makes them pass you by?

Here are 5 Thoughts on Making a Good Impression:

  1. Be your charming self, and no one else.
  2. Stay focused on who you’re talking with.
  3. Make people feel comfortable.
  4. Engage your audience with stories and connect on their level.
  5. Keep it simple and warm and real.

YOUR TURN

What do you think is important in making a good impression?

How do you know if your first impression is successful?

If you’ve messed up, do you fess up? Or just move on?

Let me know what works for you — we can all learn from each other.

I’ve never been a techy kind of gal, but appreciate technology and the bells and whistles of innovative products and services, especially ones that make my life (and business) easier!

This week, I’d like to share two websites and platforms that piqued my interest:

The first is www.paper.li. It’s a forum where you can create an online newspaper in minutes, and automatically find and publish articles as well as photos and videos from the web. I’m in the process of test driving it now, and what I love is the collection of information based on what my preferences are. This customized ‘stream’ could be used to reach out to my audience and deliver insightful news, data and stories about PR, visibility, branding, speaking, getting your message out there, and so on. I’m thrilled to have heard about this from Janet Powers at the Women’s Tool Box, of which I’m a supporter.

Next on my list to try, is the free app builder at www.AppsBar.com. Although I haven’t had the time yet to create my own app (perhaps over the Thanksgiving holiday I will), my contact Rebecca told me they have 500,000 users already. They’ve also been awarded the People’s Choice Stevie Award in 2013 for the new tech company of the year. I love that there’s a step by step process for non-geeks like me. I laugh knowing – for real – that my teenage nieces could out-app me in record time!

Everyday there’s something to learn. If I can implement a new strategy or share it with someone who can benefit from my findings, I’m happy to share. Isn’t that the point of a collaborative environment.

Fess up! What techy treats are you hiding on your smart phone or other savvy device that will help the small business owner or entrepreneur?

Whether you spill the beans or not, send me a note when you build an app or start an online newspaper geared to your audience. I’ll probably be impressed.

People and ideas generally amaze me. I love that about life.