This week on #Smallbizchat LIVE our show featured three guests: Enhance the Visibility, Reputation and Branding of Your Business via Awards Programs with Becky Wilson, @WDSPRMaven, 3 Questions About Facebook Ads with A. Fitzgerald Hardnett, @FitzSpeak, and How Can You Disrupt Your Competition—and Maybe Even an Entire Industry with Shep Hyken, @hyken.
I pulled three of the best questions from each of them to share with you. Every third Wednesday of the month, Smallbizchat LIVE is broadcast on my SmallBizLady Facebook Page, YouTube channel and on Twitter @SmallBizLady.
Becky S. Wilson is the Chief Visibility Officer at WDS Marketing & Public Relations, a competitive branding (awards), media relations, and milestone marketing agency based in Overland Park, Kan. WDS has assisted clients in receiving more than 300 business awards, honors and accolades, locally, regionally and nationally and being featured or profiled in a variety of business publications, too. Contact Becky at (913) 362-4541 or email@example.com. The agency website is www.wdspr.com.
SMALLBIZLADY: How can entrepreneurs truly differentiate their enterprises from the competition and also gain the attention of prospective clients and consumers in the marketplace?
Becky Wilson: I believe the key to accomplishing these two goals is based on one primary marketing aspect—continuing to build a positive business reputation on several levels. However, because of the current congested social media arena we have today, following this agenda is enough to give an entrepreneur an Extra Strength Tylenol® headache! With the decrease in magazine and newspaper coverage for businesses and the rise of social media channels, reputation management has changed 100 percent in the last 5 years alone and continues to do so.
One option in enhancing the reputation of an enterprise is what I term as “Competitive Branding.” I am referring to participating in business awards programs in which honorees are recognized for their achievements by a group of judges from the business community. Busines awards offer the opportunity for greater credibility and visibility, two things that attract interest of prospective buyers in a very positive manner. For example, when a company is recognized by its peers as an outstanding enterprise, it helps to draw attention to the success achieved. It generates positive buzz, increasing awareness and adding validation. There is additionally print media attention, social media coverage and celebratory events. Business owners and leaders can really elevate their businesses and show their competitive grit by throwing their hat in the ring and vying for top honors in a variety of categories. As people take notice, it builds the reputation in a positive manner.
SMALLBIZLADY: Are there specific things to consider when applying for business awards?
Becky Wilson: I recommend first determining the specific branding messages the entrepreneur would like to convey about the enterprise to the business community or within the industry. For example: Has innovation helped in garnering market share? Is there pride about the high level of customer service the team has achieved? Do they want to be known for offering a positive work environment or for inclusion and a diverse workforce? Are they leading a family business that has a unique culture? Or, could they be a successful woman or minority business entrepreneur with a great story about their climb to success?
The good news is that there are business awards programs for nearly all categories and sizes of businesses. Nearly every industry, business organization, chamber of commerce and business publication seeks to shine a light on top companies via award programs. There are specific honors for woman-, veteran-, and minority-owned enterprises. Other business awards programs recognize sustained growth, innovation, leadership, workplace diversity, customer service, and excellence in employee development. These specific honors help to achieve the branding goals and boost reputation, too. However, each award program has its’ own protocol and criteria for selection, so you must read the application rules very carefully.
The Internet is also a wonderful resource for researching recognition opportunities. Utilize your favorite public relations agency, too. They can develop a profile of each award, including the judging criteria, application requirements, benefits of participating, and media exposure. They will also help you write some compelling copy. This information will help you determine if your business should apply or not. Your PR person or agency can also create media and branding campaigns to optimize the honor when you win.
SMALLBIZLADY: Why are business awards so effective in branding, promoting and reputation management?
Becky Wilson: Competitive branding offers a unique opportunity toward increasing visibility which can be locally or nationally. Then, there is the added credibility component, too. Both of these help to out-leverage the competition. I can tell you that awards help in the sharing of business accomplishments and result in positive buzz, while building a brand as an outstanding, desirable company. Positive award coverage is excellent in drawing attention to the business in a way no traditional advertising can do. It educates prospects about positive aspects of the company, which can open the door for the sales team, too. And, as an honoree, you get to meet other top entrepreneurs at the awards events and build relationships with them.
And, if you are feeling just a bit uneasy about vying for business awards and consider it blatant self-promotion, remember this. Building a reputation is no time to be shy, reserved, or to fly under the radar. Being modest leaves the door wide open for rivals to walk across the stage into the spotlight and accept the award you could have won!
A.Fitzgerald Hardnett (Fitz) is Americas #1 Faith-Based Strategic Marketing Consultant for hyper-local small businesses and service professionals that are in need of customized marketing plans that deliver increased visibility and bring more customers directly to your business. You can learn more about him at https://localmarketauthority.com/.
SMALLBIZLADY: Do Facebook ads work?
A. Fitzgerald Hardnett: That is like asking ‘do hammers work?’ Hammers work, but they will seem like a waste of time if you try to use a hammer to write a book. Facebook ads absolutely work—if you know how to use them.
SMALLBIZLADY: What if I tried Facebook ads before and didn’t get any results? What could be wrong?
A. Fitzgerald Hardnett: There are several areas that can make a Facebook ad seem not to work and they are:
- Not having a clear ATTAINABLE goal for your ad.
- Using the wrong objective to accomplish that goal.
- Trying to make the ad do too much.
- Not using the ad for its primary purpose. (What is the ad’s primary purpose? To STOP THE SCROLL and get attention.)
- Targeting is off.
- Image doesn’t help #4.
- Copy doesn’t persuade people to take action.
- The click destination isn’t congruent or it looks sketchy.
- People are busy and get distracted; before they finish the process.
- Not retargeting them to remind them to finish the process.
SMALLBIZLADY: What is retargeting and do I need it??
A. Fitzgerald Hardnett Retargeting is like a post-it sticky note…it is a piece of code that allows you to tag and follow a site visitor around the internet. Have you ever been on the web and looked at a product, and then went to another site, and that same product seemed to follow you? If so, that happened because of retargeting. The 2 most popular retargeting methods are the Facebook pixel and the Goggle Tag manager.
You need retargeting because, although, you have done a good job in getting a person to visit your site, that is no longer enough. What happens if they visit your site and don’t sign up for your juicy lead magnet, or perform an action that enables you to contact them, once they leave? Before retargeting, all hope would have been lost… but not anymore. With the installation of a pixel, you now have the potential to follow that visitor around the internet, which allows you to interrupt them later and make them another offer! Just like Nat Cole says in that famous song: “Unforgettable, that’s what you are.” In my opinion, retargeting is way more powerful than email, but when you combine it with email, its cha-ching.
SMALLBIZLADY: What is the #1 visibility tool going into 2019?
A. Fitzgerald Hardnett: Consistent Value Adding Videos originating from Facebook and re-purposed throughout social media!!!
Shep Hyken is a customer service and experience expert and the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations. He is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author and has been inducted into the National Speakers Association Hall of Fame for lifetime achievement in the speaking profession. You can learn more about him at https://hyken.com/.
SMALLBIZLADY: How can you disrupt your competition – and maybe even an entire industry?
Shep Hyken: Be convenient! Whether you’re trying to out-service a competitor or disrupt an entire industry, creating less friction and being more convenient for your customers should be your strategy. When you raise the convenience bar, you create the next level of amazing customer experience. And, when you do, your customers will reward you with their money, their loyalty, and their referrals.
SMALBIZLADY: Subscription services seem to be becoming more and more popular in many industries. What do you think of this business model?
Shep Hyken: I think the subscription model works well. Subscription services have expanded from magazines and newspapers to include all kinds of products and services. Amazon, the leader in convenience, offers a subscription service for a myriad of consumable products. Annual maintenance contracts are a form of a subscription model. If you go to a hardware store to buy an air conditioner or furnace filters every six months, many now make it easier by offering the option of automatically sending you the new filters when you need them. And when they show up, it is also a reminder to change them. Netflix disrupted the video industry when they offered a subscription model that made it easier than driving back and forth to the video store.
SMALLBIZLADY: You talk about the importance of access for customers to companies. What do you mean by that?
Shep Hyken: If you’re not easily accessible, you face some stiff competition. Websites are available 24/7. Walmarts are everywhere; in fact, 90 percent of U.S. residents live within 10 minutes of a Walmart. Think about your location and hours of operation. Are they designed to be convenient for your customers – or for you? Could you disrupt your competition by offering nighttime or weekend hours?
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