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.

Facebook Fanpage Created just for You!

16 Jan

Part of the services I provide within the Social Media realm is to create Fanpages. The Dr. Tom Veal was made by yours truly.
drtom facebook
I’ve actually created over a dozen fan pages and currently manage 10 of them. Some are thinking, “Why should I pay you when I can do it myself?” Well, ya you could and the more power to you. But there are some folks who are not familiar with Social Media let alone Facebook. Another reason is that they may not have enough time to do so. This is where I come in and create your fanpage(s) and include a Cover photo, your office info, profile pictures, About info and a couple of status updates just to get you started.

My rate for this service is $50.00, not a bad price if you ask me since you’re paying a Professional to provide you with this service rather.

RL Policar
714 519 6661
E:rlpolicar@gmail.com

Facebook Etiquette

31 Dec

In this article we’re going to cover some of the basics of Facebook(FB) Etiquette on a business level as well as personal. If you’re anything like me you’re on FB ALL THE TIME! Well part of that is due to my job. I am a Social Media Consultant so that means almost every working hour I have is spent on it. But for the rest of you folks out there, you’re only 2 clicks away from FB. We typically will have it open as another window or tab on our browsers. Then at anytime, you just click on it to see what’s going on.

I’m sure you have it on your Smart Phones too, right? That way you can be connected to the people you love or at least find interesting on a 24/7 basis. Let me guess, when you wake up in the morning, you reach for your smart phone or tablet and check your FB feed and email? I’m guilty of that myself, so don’t feel too bad…”because everyone does it.” Right?
Ok let’s move onto some basic etiquette on FB. Here’s a few that should help you avoid arguments or unfriending (is that even a word?) situations.

*Avoid political or religious posts.

We all know people who post things as their status that is related to some sort of politics and religious stuff. This goes along the same ways towards gun control. Basically you avoid this because when you start posting your view point’s there’s always someone that will challenge that and argue with you. During the Romney and Obama elections, there were so many HEATED arguments on FB on why you should vote for who or which propositions you should vote for. At times it got ugly between my own friends and some even unfriended each other because their views are different from their own. I’m not saying having a different opinion or having a great discussion isn’t healthy, but for the most part, people are not mature enough to do that on FB. So much is lost in text that the tone is lost.

*Emoticons are not guaranteed to work

Do you know what they are? It’s icons that are supposed to mimic your emotions. For example, do you use emoticons at the end of your posts like this to show you’re happy :) or sad :(? What about when you’re joking, I think the proper emoticon is using the colon and the letter P signify that you’re smiling and your tongue is sticking out to show you’re being silly. But the problem with emoticons is the person can’t see your face doing those same actions. So if I were to call someone FART FACE with  that could be taken as 1. Joke or 2. making fun of the person you called a fart face.

Yes there are hundreds of emoticons, even animals have emoticons, but they are still not great at REALLY expressing your facial expressions as if you were talking face to face with the person and that could cause problems in communication in which I’ll touch on the next point.


*The tone of your message may not be taken the way you want

A recent situation I had was with one of former my client’s FB page. A customer commented about his bad experience at one of the retail stores the company owned. I responded to his comment in a joking manner, very sarcastic in tone but he took it as a personal attack on him. That situation I had to immediately apologize to him after reading his rebuttal to my comment. The issue with tone is that sometimes people may not get your humor. Something that you may think is hilarious may not be as funny to another.

*Don’t send important messages through a status update or in a comment

This is one of my pet peeves. Basically what I’m saying is, if it’s important to the person to get you the message. Then pick up the phone! Here’s an example, I saw an argument start on FB and the people involved kept going back and forth on comments. Then they started sending each other private messages to continue their argument. Here’s the thing, if it’s a conflict, just call them. Don’t use PM or status updates to further argue or resolve things.

I recently had a situation where I commented in a joking manner to a serious tone. The person asked if I could keep it serious since this was something he was being sincere about. I said no problem and obliged to his request. Then here’s the best part, he picked up the phone and CALLED ME! Yes, he called me to make sure that I wasn’t offended that he asked me to keep it serious. I told him that I wasn’t and that I really appreciated his heart behind wanting to make sure no bitter root grows between our friendship.

*Posting photos

This one is a double edged sword because not too many people really want to see you having so much fun in Hawaii zip lining while drinking a pina colada while kissing your hot wife. Why? It’s due to the fact that people don’t like show offs. I’m sure there’s a friend that will see your photos from Hawaii who is sitting in his mom’s basement in Dayton, Ohio who is super jealous of your exploits and is probably single or has an ugly girl friend that wishes he could do what you’re doing…but he can’t. Besides, no one really cares about those photos of you looking to the left or right or pictures of your designer purses and shoes that you bought or what you are having for lunch.

The flip sides to this are business fanpages. Fans love to live vicariously through the pages they LIKE. I say post as many photos of your products being used, office shenanigans, customer photos and anything that shows off your product. If you make dog sweaters, then post as many photos of dogs in sweaters, preferably your own brand.

That’s about it, I’m sure there’s so many other things I could touch on, but we’ll leave that for another day.

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