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You think you have what it takes to do what I do?

22 May

I’ve seen this happen more than a few times where I meet with a company and pitch my services for Social Media Management only to find out that they decided to manage their own efforts. But here’s the thing that they don’t understand. Social Media is time consuming. Some people seem to think that its just posting on Facebook and Twitter…eh..partially true. But there’s more to it than they realize. There’s actual planning, research, knowing your target audience, knowing the times to post content, knowing what kind of content to post and knowing what makes your customers tick.

With my services, I’ve discovered what works and what doesn’t work with Social Media. Just because you have a Facebook account, it doesn’t mean you can do what I can do. But it’s the same thing if you look at car mechanics. I’ve got a car and tools, but it doesn’t mean I can do their job. Nor could I ever be a Barrista just because I have a coffee maker. So I hope you understand that there’s more to Social Media than most people think. Let a professional handle your online presence so you can focus on doing what you’re great at, that’s running your business. 

“I don’t see the value in Social Media”

22 May

Every time I hear that from someone, two things comes to mind.

1. They’re ignorant about the power of Social Media.

2. They’re old.

Yes I said it…you’re old. So let’s look at it this way. Social Media is a very powerful tool for companies to help make them money. If you don’t have it going on for your brand, then you’re missing out on possible sales. I’ll give you an example, I manage the Social Media efforts for one of my clients. Each time I post a product on Facebook/Twitter/Blog they end up selling 15-20 pieces within the first day. Each item ranges from $15-$40. That money generated via Social Media is money you wouldn’t have seen if you don’t see the value in it.

I was talking about it with my college age daughter. I told her that there are so many people that don’t value or believe in the power of social media. You know what said next? “Are they old or something?” Here’s why older folks don’t seem to get it. For starters they think it’s a waste of time to be on Facebook, Instagram and etc. But what they don’t understand is that Social Media is another way of doing “word by mouth” advertising. But makes it easier is that the person is already on the Internet which means they can easily order the item they see being talked about through social media. Make sense right?

I do this all the time. I see a post from one of my favorite brands about a sale they’re having. So what do I do? I end up ordering things online ALL THE TIME!

So there you have it in the shortest of forms…Social Media works. If you don’t value or believe in it, then you’re losing out on money you could make. It’s that simple.

Why it’s worth paying someone to do the job

25 Mar

Last month I met with a company that was interested in my services. I gave them a layout on what I could do for them. They said they’d think about it. A few days later I noticed that they started becoming more active in their social media. As great as that is, they were doing it all wrong. For one they were using their own personal profile to promote their business, secondly they fizzled out after 2 days.

In my experience, I’ve learned that companies will try and do their own social media after speaking with me because they think it sounds “easy” enough.” Unfortunately, they find out it’s not as easy as they think. It’s more time consuming than they realize, which means they end up abandoning the effort.

Fortunately for them, they did come back and asked me to manage their social media efforts. The moral of the story, I’m a professional. I’m good at what I do, just like how you are good at what you do. Whether you sell doo-dads or nick-nacks, you’re great at it and that’s why you have your business. But for stuff like social media, blogging and email marketing, leave that up to me so you can focus on your own day to day efforts.

Shirts, Stickers and Signs

24 Apr

A while back I had a friend who was interested in “branding” his new found business idea. Keyword is IDEA. He wanted to sell products to a certain clientele. But he hadn’t lined up his vendors, website and products. But he already wanted to come up with all sorts of marketing collateral such as shirts, stickers and even signs to help gain some exposure for his brand. But when I heard this, one thing came to mind…don’t count your chickens before they hatch.
chickens_hatch

Though I completely understand what he’s trying to do, but I tried to explain to him that there’s stuff he can do that won’t actually cost money. I told him about Blogging and Social Media, but he just couldn’t see the vision for it because he was too focused on wanting to get stuff to pass out to people.

You see, if you start blogging you’re basically building a buzz about your product, services and company. Besides it’s free and it has the best return for your work. If you have good content on your site, search engines will find you and that means when someone is Googling a product or service you offer, your chances of getting found online goes up.

Don’t get me wrong, I think branding is great, but it’s better when you have already established yourself as a company. Besides, all that branding stuff isn’t cheap, shirts can cost as much as $8 a piece with a minimum order of 100. So all that adds up. My suggestion is after you start making sales and have replenished your overhead, any surplus you have can go towards branding.

What’s the best way to get more readers to my blog?

19 Apr

I recently had a friend ask me that question above since she just started a blog. There’s so many ways to answer it. But in my opinion, fresh content is the best way to get more readers on your blog. What do I mean by FRESH CONTENT? Basically it means articles and more articles.

If your blog is all about cats and kittens, then make sure you publishing out as many cat/kitten articles as often as you can. Oh but there’s a catch to all that. The content you push out has to be substantial, meaning it has to have some sort of value to your readers. That way you’ll retain them as a reader and they keep coming back to see what new stuff you’ve posted.
LOL-Poor-cat
Just think of it for a minute. You find a great blog, you follow it, but the Author doesn’t regularly update it. Maybe they’ll update once or twice a month. What eventually happens is you stop going back to the site and you forget. Well…do you want your readers to forget about you? No? Then make sure you have good articles that keeps them engaged and coming back!

A few years ago there was a blog that I followed because I loved how he wrote. He was funny, witty and his style was so unique. Then something happened, he just stopped writing. Eventually his blog failed to exist! I was actually pretty bummed out because I felt the guy had some great stuff. So if you didn’t what I’m trying to say, post articles. Preferably your own and not some sort of regurgitated news that other blogs have already posted.

Get your brand involved

12 Apr

One of the things I love to do on my mountain biking website is create projects or what we call “builds.” For the last 6 years that I’ve had that line of business open, we’ve created at least a dozen bike projects. Some of them are basic builds and others like the tandem is pretty complicated.

When doing these builds, it does cost money. The website does pay for much of the expenses. But often times I’ll partner up with a brand who will donate hard goods to the cause. Doing this helps off set any costs that I may incur from the project. Besides, it’s a great way for the brand to further get their name out there on a grass roots level.

Take for example this stuff you see below. That was donated by a company in SoCal called Serfas. They make quality bicycle parts and accessories. We’ve had a great relationship with Serfas for the last several years. But this was actually the first project they jumped on board with.
serfas

Why do you think Serfas donated products? There’s a few reasons why they did it. For one, it’s cheap advertising. Another reason is that it’s CHEAP ADVERTISING. Third…do I dare say it again? CHEAP ADVERTISING! Yep, you guessed it, cheap advertising. How cheap? Let’s look at that picture again. I’m guessing that items that Serfas sells is marked up to 50-80% from the landed costs. Let’s pretend that a seat that retails for $50 has a landed cost of $20. If you didn’t know, LANDED COST means the total cost to you, the company of everything included. That means, “the end cost of an internationally shipped item. This includes purchase price, freight, insurance, and other costs and may sometimes include duties and taxes.”

Ok now that we have that in mind, let’s look again at that photo. There are other items in it such as tires, grips and the already mentioned, seats. Once more, we’ll pretend the landed costs for all those items hover around $100. Now take that $100 and see if you can buy any type of advertisement online or on a print publication. I’m sure you’ll find a few deals here and there. But what you run the risk of is an un-targeted audience (more on that later). I also doubt you’ll find a place that will take your $100 so you can run a full campaign for over a month.

On the tandem project that MtnBikeRiders.com has, they(as is me and the guys) are planning on doing multiple articles, multiple rides, races and events with the finished project. So this means, what ever they do with the tandem, Serfas will get some sort of exposure…to a TARGETED audience (more on targeted audience later). Why does that matter? Just look at that $100 investment they made. It will now become a permanent part of this tandem project. Every time these guys do anything with that tandem, Serfas products will be seen in photos, articles and videos they create. Given our history at MtnBikeRiders.com, anytime we do a project, we post tons of articles on just that project alone. I’ll give you an example. Here’s a project I took on, I called it Burt Reynolds. A simple search on the site will yield over a dozen articles on that bike alone.

Back to the title. Get involved! Make a bold move like Serfas did, get involved with bloggers and see what you can do to assist in their next project/activity or event. But make sure those guys have some sort of credibility on projects so you don’t waste your time and money.

Should you sponsor a team?

22 Feb

Sure why not?! Well here’s a few things to think about before plopping down money towards a team. Let’s start with this, does this team have the ability to provide you some “exposure?” The E-Word seems to be the very thing soliciting teams often use to entice their potential sponsor to go with them.

To get the most out of your sponsorship/advertising money, the best thing to do is make sure the team you’re sponsoring has some sort of Social Media presence as well as blog. Part of your agreement with them is that they will always address their team your brand/company name. Here’s what I mean. A while back my websites, MtnBikeRiders.com and BikeCommuters.com sponsored a mountain bike race team. But they were also sponsored by a bicycle manufacturer called Airborne Bicycles which provided them free bicycles. The race team called themselves the Airborne Rangers. Since Airborne was the bigger sponsor, they got the title name. One of the agreements the race team had with it’s sponsors was to help promote the brands as often as they can on their website, race reports, at the venue and on Social Media.

airborne

If your sponsored team has some sort of Internet Marketing in place, then this will help stretch your reach further because you’ve got a bunch of people pushing out your brand to avenues you may not have had access to. It’s actually a great way to get into grass roots/guerrilla marketing.

Another thing to consider when you sponsor a team is the relevance of your brand to the sport/team your sponsoring. If you sell computer software and you sponsored a Men’s Slow Pitch Softball Team, what kind of exposure are you really getting? Unless the team uses Social Media and Blogging, then this might work, the key word is might.

If you sponsor a team, does it necessarily mean you give them free products or pay for their expenses? Nope. If you offer goods, then you can provide the team a Pro-Deal. Basically you are selling them your products at your cost. In this arrangement, you’re not really losing money, plus you’ve got some loyal fan-boys pushing your stuff.

Make sure you have some sort of agreement with the team that if they carry themselves unprofessionally, or inappropriately while participating in the event/activity you are sponsoring them for, that you could pull out of the deal. Just use Lance Armstrong’s example. Once the stuff hit the fan about him doping, all of his big sponsors pulled out.

So let’s recap:
1. Make sure you ask the team; “what’s in it for me?”
2. Ask them if they have at a minimum, Social Media in place to help promote their team as well as your brand.
3. Sponsor relevant teams and activities. Don’t sponsor a bowling team if you’re brand sells women’s underwear or something that has nothing to do with bowling.
4. Code of conduct. The team you sponsor needs to carry themselves in a professional manner at all times.

Now if you’re a food company, heck you can pretty much get away with sponsoring all types of sports teams.

Content Should be Fresh, Not Duplicated.

17 Jan

We’ve covered Content Marketing and Blogging before. These two things are pretty much similar but different in their own ways. Think of it like milk and chocolate milk. Essentially both are milk, but chocolate milk is pretty darn yummy…

Chocolate_Milk_by_hutchess
Before I get carried away on why chocolate milk is fantastic, let’s go back to content and blogging. You see content can be the stuff you put on static pages on your site. For example, if your website talks about your services, that text you have is content. Then there’s something called a Blog. I’m a huge proponent to this because of the fact search engines love fresh content or in other words, new material. With a blog you can update it as many times as you want, preferably 3 times a week and that triggers the search engines to start crawling your blog for info which then presents it to people looking for those keywords you have on your article.

So here’s where we have to talk about being fresh and not duplicated. There are MANY “content providers” that will sell you articles as cheap as $.03 a word. They’ll include 2 keywords and a 250 word minimum. Sounds like a great deal right? Well no it’s not. What you’re getting could be of two things. 1. Content from overseas writers that don’t speak English and use some sort of translator program. Thus the stuff don’t make sense! 2. Copied or duplicated content. This means the person you bought the article from Googled your competitors and hit copy then paste and emailed it to you. This is bad because Google will see that your content is duplicated and you can face repercussions that will greatly affect your traffic.

The bottom line here is, when you are going to pay for someone to write content for you, make sure you get a guarantee from them that it’s fresh/new and never duplicated.

My service provides content creation as well as editing existing content. All of my materials are guaranteed to be original. You may pay a bit more with RLPolicar.com, but my quality of work will outshine my competitors.

Should you be doing Content Marketing?

13 Dec

Not sure what that term means?

Content marketing is an umbrella term encompassing all marketing formats that involve the creation and sharing of content in order to attract, acquire and engage clearly defined and understood current and potential consumer bases with the objective of driving profitable customer action. Content marketing subscribes to the notion that delivering information to prospects and customers drives profitable consumer action. Content marketing has benefits in terms of retaining reader attention and improving brand loyalty.

To answer the question above, Yes you should be doing content marketing! Why well for the very same reasons it says in the definition above, but summarized; “get people to like you, your brand, keep them loyal and make money.”

One of the best ways to generate Content Marketing is to create a blog, update it with relevant articles to your audience (customers). For example, if you’re a Mountain Bike Website, then having articles on how to fix bicycles or the latest product reviews would definitely fall under the category of Content Marketing. But if the mountain biking website only posts videos of talking cats, which can be cute, but are not relevant to their audience, then you’ll lose them as readers.

Now the problem with most businesses is that they either don’t know how to write well or they don’t have time. I’ve spoken to 2 owners whom one of them has so many ideas in his head that he’s confident that he could come up with an article a day for his blog, but he’s so busy running his company that he doesn’t have time. Then another owner I spoke with just this week said he wants to get a blog going and start getting some content on his site, but he HATES writing.

One of the services I offer is Content Writing for ANY business. I’ve published over 2000 articles in last few years and I’ve covered things from Real Estate Investing, Bicycles, Retail, Women’s clothing and even Rugs…yes Rugs, like the kind you put in your living room that can cost thousands of dollars. Another thing I need to mention, Content Marketing is really inexpensive to do. If you write the content yourself, then it’s free! If you can’t do it yourself, then I can help you (for a small fee).

Anyhow, I can could literally go on for hours on why and how Content Marketing Works, but I won’t. However, if you’re interested in further discussing it, feel free to contact me via email: RLPolicar@gmail.com

Why helping the needy is good for your brand

13 Dec

Have you ever considered having your company/brand contribute to a non-profit or help out in some sort of charity or noble cause? If you have, ever consider the societal implications it could have on your image?

Before I get started, I want to make it a point that I do not believe that people/companies/brands should only help out the needy in order to bolster their image. But they should do it because they can and that they want to make a difference.

One of the brands I represent is BikeCommuters.com. Recently I spearheaded a new initiative with the website to start helping out the local bicycles who had needs. I contacted one of the site’s advertisers whom they’ve had a long standing relationship with, to see if they’d be interested in helping out with some product donations. We also started helping out with Operation Feed The Homeless, a local non-profit that aides the homeless of Santa Ana, Ca. While they are out there providing food, clothing and other needs, I’ve gone around as a representative of BikeCommuters.com and would hand out bicycle lights and locks to people who I saw needed it.

We didn’t do this to make BikeCommuters.com look good, though it dos help, but because there are good hearted people that run the site as well as the generous donations, they were able to pull this off. In fact they’re going again with more support from another company that wanted to donate their time and products to the cause.

So here’s the thing, when your brand does something good like meeting the needs of the less fortunate or help build a house and etc, your brand will automatically touch a nerve with your audience. Not only does it show that the brand is conscientious of the needs around them, but it helps give the brand a humanistic touch that may never been seen before. When this happens, it tends to build brand loyalty, thus repeat customers.

I don’t know about you, but I’m more willing to shop at an establishment or online retailer who commits to some sort of advocacy or community service. It even helps when I read about their projects on their blogs or on Facebook. If anything at all, look at it as this…It makes for a great marketing opportunity for your brand. You’ll have tons of content for your site, it gets your employees excited and it’s also a great team building exercise.

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