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November 2015
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January 2016

Use It or Lose It

Back in November the Greater Des Moines Partnership (whom I admire and am an active Look Local First 2015member) rolled out a marketing plan designed to remind holiday shoppers that buying local has an enormous impact on the local economy. Look Local First had all the stuff: Images, a website and even a hashtag #LookLocalFirst to be used to promote the program via social media.

The other day I did a Twitter Search for #LookLocalFirst just to see if anybody had been using the hashtag. You know, spreading the whole idea that "Shop Local" is good for the local economy.  Here is a screen shot of what I found.

Look Local First Twitter Mentions 21 DecLook, I get it.  People get busy, they forget and sometimes it's tough to market a movement...even if that movement helps serve the commercial interests of the area.  So, how about some social media tips for the use of a hashtag promotion?

  • Encouragement - If you've got a built in set of social media followers continue to encourage them to use the hashtag and make sure they understand the relationship they have to share the message;
  • Use It - In this case the last time I could see that the sponsoring organization used #LookLocalFirst was the end of November. A long range campaign needs engagement all the time;
  • Cross Promotion - Use other media to explain the message. A couple of short videos, done by (in this case) small business people gives a human reason to use the hashtag;
  • Key Players - Get some key players in your social media world to use the hashtag. People follow people;
  • Blog About It - One and done doesn't get it. Sure you can have a big rollout but if you move on too quickly it loses steam. Offer a few success stories;
  • Start Early - If it's a campaign meant to cover the fourth quarter or two months of the fourth quarter start the campaign awareness at least a month earlier.

Big companies and organizations often have way too much going on and tend to forget about the campaign they started. That helps nobody. Stay with it and your ROI will improve.

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Why Knowing Trends Matters

We follow trends because it's important to understand where business is going rather than Closed Storewhere we've been. Not to say we should forget about our history but our eyes should always be on tomorrow so that business can adjust to the market. And we're not just talking about color schemes. We're talking about major shifts in consumers that drives marketing/advertising.

Home Depot is a case in point.

Last week, on the Business News Hour, we had a story about how Home Depot was changing their marketing mix away from the Do It Yourself person and focusing more on professional re-modelers and contractors. For a business that has built their brand on DIY this is a seismic shift.

Why?

Because the understand the trends in home-ownership. Consider:

  • Home-Ownership at an All Time Low: Only 63.5% of Americans own their home the lowest number since 1967;
  • DIY Gives Way to Do It For Me: As Baby Boomers age they are not as interested in tackling a kitchen or bathroom re-do and would rather hire it done;
  • Got No Skills: In many parts of the country "Shop Class" is a thing of the past. Shop was replaced by computer science and a generation didn't learn about building stuff;
  • More Renters: Blame it on the recession, stagnate wages, the desire to have fixed monthly expenses; whatever the reason more and more people are turning to rentals. Check the chart below.

Rise of RentersIt all adds up to a trend and Home Depot responded even though it meant moving away from what made them the best DIY store in the nation.

So, here are some questions for you:  Are you staying ahead of the trends? Are you paying attention? If sales are in a slump, or just not as robust as they once were, is it a trend away from your product or service? Do you know?

Maybe it's time to think about it...

Thanks for reading!

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The Power of the Podcast for Business

I get it you've already got plenty on your advertising/marketing plate and you may think you Podcastdon't have room for more. Fair but let me share with you an opportunity to have your voice heard like in "really heard".

If you want to skip reading and rather listen to what a Podcast can sound like...here you go:

Podcast Blog

Podcasting is something most businesses don't do mostly because they fail to see the value in podcasting or they don't understand how to create a podcast. Let me help you with both:

Podcast Value

People are busy, often too busy to read. They may head to the gym, drive a distance to the office, get on the road for a game or hit the highway for a meeting. Tough to read when jogging or driving but really easy to listen to a podcast.  The value of creating a podcast for your business is that you can, in a very short period of time, capture the attention of your target audience and they can "tune in" to the "voice of your business".

Creating a Podcast

It doesn't require much. Your computer and a microphone should work but then you'll have two additional issues. You'll need some software to edit your podcast. There is a free version of Audacity out there that we've used for years or you can pony up and purchase another system.

The content of your podcast should be original. Just like your blog you now have the opportunity to share your knowledge with others but remember, just like video, you've only got seconds to capture the attention of your audience. Get to it and make it enjoyable to listen to. Offer tips, suggestions and put your expertise on display. Keep your podcast to maximum of IOB_podcastv2 TuneInfifteen minutes. Often less...is best.

I'd also suggest to you that you use original music at the front so that your podcast becomes your own. Looking for original music for yours?  Contact my friend James Goodlett from JamGood Productions great stuff and he did ours for the Business News Hour.

Also get some original artwork for your podcast. We also did that for the Business News Hour and it's instantly identifiable to what we do.

Hosting Your Podcast

So where do you put your podcast? There are a number of sites out there. We've used Podbean for several years and it allows us a tracking system to record the downloads. There are others and here is a link to TechNorms for a listing of eight. And don't forget to include iTunes for an option.

Sharing Your Podcast 

Social Media time baby!  Don't be bashful. Place it on your website, splash it on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook...what you are currently using for sharing...now you have your podcast to share as well.

I'm not going to kid you it takes time...but if you've already got written content why not re-purpose that into your new podcast?

You're...On!

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