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In this episode of the UnPodcast we talk about how business owners are at times overly focused on tools, when what they really need to focus on is content.

We also discussed the importance of taking a stand when it comes to being paid what you’re worth, and how your client is first and foremost your client, not your friend.

Advice to creatives, “Never release the files until you’ve been paid.”

Other topics include:

  • The importance of taking a stand for your pricing.
  • Why mutual respect is important in all working relationships
  • How to leverage word of mouth
  • The importance of sharing reactive content
  • Why the time of what you share isn’t as important as what you share
  • 2 different mindsets when it comes to putting out content
  • What really matters at the end of the day
  • The untrainable thing in photography
  • The importance of figuring out what you’re worth
  • Details about a book giveaway
  • And so much more. . .
  • If you don’t value your time, no one else will. [Tweet This]

    Items mentioned in this episode

  • Instagram
  • Humans of New York on Instagram
  • Humans of New York on Facebook
  • Human of New York book
  • Indiegogo
  • Bill Cunningham New York
  • Video provided by: AtomicSpark
    Audio recorded by: Wayne Cochrane Sound

    How to Decorate Your Content For The Holidays

    Holiday DecorationBefore you say bah humbug, think about what you can do to your content marketing for the holidays, regardless of what celebrate, if you let yourself be a kid for the teeniest, tiniest moment.

    My husband has a friend who takes the role of Santa seriously. 365 days a year he looks and acts like Santa. What began as a joke has become a professional calling.

    His cold weather red parka bears the name Santa embroidered in white thread. Regardless of the time of year or occasion he shows up, dressed in holiday reds and greens with his white hair and beard flowing. In fact, he’s always on the look out for festive clothes and accessories.

    The important point for marketers is that he has fun being Santa. It’s not about embracing a particular religion or point of view but rather getting into the holiday spirit whether it’s Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice or New Year’s Eve.

    13 Holiday content marketing tips

    To help you with your holiday content marketing, here are 13 actionable tips any business can use. Just like the ornaments you put on your tree, you can pack them away and reuse them next year.

    1. Decorate your business for the holidays.

    The winter holidays are the time when people pull out all of the stops and dress their home and gardens with lights and Christmas decorations. My mother and sister-in-law love to drive around and look at how neighbors decorated their homes, the more over-the-top and gaudy the light displays the better.

    Actionable Content Marketing Tips:

    • Trim your content home(s) such as your website and blog. Make them festive with holly, Christmas lights, candy canes and other decorations. The goal is to make it feel festive and different to get readers to stop and pay attention.
    • Add some Easter eggs. Give readers a reason to spend time with your content. Like a Hirschfeld cartoon where readers looked for the hidden “Ninas”, incorporate a game into your content.

    2. Dress up in your holiday finery.

    Clothes show your holiday spirit, even if you don’t dress like Santa. Coke Zero put a fun twist on the traditional holiday sweater.

    Actionable Content Marketing Tips

    • Create holiday theme photographs for social media platforms. Change your profile photographs to be aligned with the holidays. Don’t just modify the background with Photoshop, think about adding fun in terms of symbols and charms.
    • Add a holiday touch to author photos. Photoshop photographs with holiday symbols or dress up in holiday clothes. You can allow your writers to create their own festive look or ask everyone to use a consistent color or accent such as a Santa’s hat or reindeer ears.
    • Put your images in holiday frames.  Incorporate Christmas decorations or holly around your photographs and other visuals. Use visual cues to set your content apart.

    3. Reinvent the holidays for your target audience.

    Everyone has their own holiday traditions, whether it’s a new tree decoration or special foods. Of course, there’s the opportunity to create new traditions for your business through your content.

    Actionable Content Marketing Tips

    • Collect holiday stories from your employees. Get your organization involved in the content creation process. The key is to make it easy to execute and remove the risk of failure.
    • Use the power of holiday traditions to engage with your customers. Collect holiday traditions from your fans. For example, their favorite holiday cookie recipe or the last minute gift pattern.
    • Provide product instructions they need. Create a set of product articles or short videos (via Vine or Instagram) to show parents (and others) how to use those wonderful holiday presents. Even more important don’t forget to show the elves how to put together the gifts!

    4. Make your holiday picture perfect.

    Holidays are an important time to capture photographs. When I was young, my parents sent holiday cards consisting of a photograph of my siblings and me. Why not make it easy for your customers and fans.

    • Ask your customers to upload their photographs of you on social media. It’s the perfect medium for sharing images.
    • Take a new spin on the Santa visit. Give your customers a reason to stop and take photographs in your store or other location. Put up a fun background that screams to people to get into the picture. Of course, don’t forget to include your branding and website address so that it’s in their photographs!

    5. Give them the gift of recognition.

    Put a holiday spin on the Andy Warhol phrase: “15 minutes of fame”. Put your customers in the spotlight.

    Actionable Content Marketing Tips: 

    • Take a new spin on the idea of an advent calendar. Feature a different employee every day leading up to Christmas with their favorite product.
    • Highlight a different customer everyday. The objective isn’t just to go through the motions of putting up a photograph. Rather it’s to celebrate them as people.
    • Collect holiday wishes. Let your community share their wishes for the coming year on a page of your website or social media.

    The goal of holiday content marketing is to have fun while building your brand and extending customer relationships. You can think in terms of real time marketing or evergreen content that you use every year.

    Enjoy the holiday fun.

    What else would you suggest adding to this list and why?

    Happy Marketing,
    Heidi Cohen


    Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
    You can find Heidi on , Facebook and .

    Social Media Marketing WorldSocial Media Marketing World

    Social Media Marketing World is Social Media Examiner's mega conference in San Diego, California at the waterfront Manchester Grand Hyatt. It includes a networking party on a naval aircraft carrier and much more!

    Presenters include Chris Brogan, Mari Smith, Michael Hyatt, Jay Baer, John Jantsch, Amy Porterfield, Mark Schaefer and experts from more than a dozen brands—just to name a few. Find out More

    Did you miss me at Content Marketing World 2013?

    Comtent Marketing World OnDemand Content Marketing World 2013 brought together the leading marketing thinkers and practitioners from around the globe. Over 1,700 marketers from 40 countries attended the annual event in Cleveland. But don't worry if you couldn't attend - or missed a valuable session - Get all the content of CMWorld 2013 OnDemand now!

     

     

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    Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rubberdragon/6640597557/

    The post Holiday Content Marketing: 13 Tips Any Business Can Use appeared first on Heidi Cohen.

    How Black Friday & Cyber Monday Sales Can Hurt You

    black friday sale lineSales, sales and more sales. Call it Black Friday, Small Business Saturday or Cyber Monday – special sales hung around the Thanksgiving weekend in hopes of jumpstarting holiday buying have expanded, as have store hours to accommodate consumers’ schedules.

    With roughly one-quarter to one-third of their annual results tied to holiday buying, retailers must pull out all of the stops. If consumers don’t purchase from them, they’re buying from competitors.

    Whether you’re a small or large business that sells to consumers or businesses, there are lessons to be learned. All this holiday related promotion isn’t necessarily good marketing or business. (BTW–here’s how to create a promotional calendar.) The problem is that no one dares ask if your bottom line is increasing.

    Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales combined increased 2.3% to $12.3 billion according to ShopperTrak LLC.  To put this in perspective, this is roughly the amount that the US retail industry increases each year.

    Online sales break out as follows based on IBM data.

    • Online sales for Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday sales were up almost 20% over 2012. The average Black Friday order value was $135.27, up 2.2% since 2012.
    • Mobile traffic accounted for 40% of all online traffic. Smartphones drove Black Friday browsing activity with 25% of all online traffic while tablets drove 14% of all online traffic.
    • Mobile sales were 22% of total online sales. Tablets drove 14% of all online sales, twice the amount of smartphones (7%). Tablet users spent an average of $132.75 per order and smartphone users spent an average of $115.63 per order. Of note, iOS drove more traffic, higher sales and larger average sale than Android.

    Since prospects do their pre-shopping research on PCs, smartphones and tablets, it’s no surprise consumers also buy there. The problem is that this is a channel shift, not overall industry growth.

    Are the people camped outside your store for Black Friday your best customers? I don’t need to interview them to know they’re not. They’re waiting for your best possible price (and possibly notoriety on the local television news). The problem is that these sales can hurt profitability because you’ve got increased costs due to longer hours and lower margins due to competitive prices.

    Despite this, holiday season revenues typically account for a quarter to a third of annual sales. Therefore, you must maximize sales opportunities before you enter the holiday frenzy. To this end, assess your promotional plans to determine where you can create unique sales opportunities.

    While you may need their business this year, you need to plan ahead to avoid this promotional trap next year.  Here are 10 actionable small business tactics to achieve holiday sales freedom.

    1. Know your target audience. Understand who your buyers are and why they’re interested in purchasing from you by creating a marketing persona. To this end, take a page from Amazon’s Jeff Bezos who ruthlessly focuses on the customer experience.
    2. Build your customer base for the long term. This translates to relationships. You must grow your list of prospects and others interested in your products and related content.
    3. Nurture your customers and leads. Give them the information they want to learn more about your products and services. Treat prospects and customers differently. Although it’s important to understand that you can use the same content and information to achieve these 2 different objectives.
    4. Treat your best customers special.  Take the time to analyze your customer base and understand who your best customers are. Most businesses have two categories of top customers. Your top tier customers who drive the most sales and your second tier customers who have the potential to become your best customers. At a minimum, create a list of your customers from least profitable to most profitable and divide them into deciles. What can you do to encourage your best customers to engage with you more often and buy from you more frequently?
    5. Segment your prospects and customers. Track your customers based on how you acquired them, what they buy and how frequently they buy. Of course, this assumes that you have the ability to track these results.
    6. Take care of your email list. Marketers know that sending out an email drives sales. The problem is over-emailing your list so that people unsubscribe in droves. It’s like killing the goose that laid the golden egg.
    7. Understand your price dynamics. Don’t stick your head in the sand and tell yourself you’ve got an accountant or finance department. You must know how much your products cost to buy or to create and how much you spend on promoting them. If you don’t, then you risk selling your product at a price that looses money. (Here’s now to measure costs.)
    8. Maximize every marketing opportunity. Since you don’t have a crystal ball to tell you which promotions will drive the most sales and which will fall flat, it’s critical to pull out the stops with each promotion. Ask yourself, what can you do to drive more sales with each special offer.
    9. Create ways to upsell and cross sell existing customers. Don’t just stop at the purchase. Make your prospect a related offer. Sell the product in another color or related product or accessory where it makes sense. My mother excelled at this type of shopping. If the green top fit well and was a good price, why not buy another one in a different color? Include links to related pages on your product page and related content.
    10. Measure marketing results. Track your results against the past year as well as your budget. Keep good notes related to external events such as major promotions and environmental issues.

     

    Like customers rushing the door at their local Best Buy, Target or Walmart, when everyone is pushing at the same time in the same way, it’s time to think outside of the gift box or risk getting run over in the stampede.

    Happy Marketing,
    Heidi Cohen


    Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
    You can find Heidi on , Facebook and .

    Social Media Marketing WorldSocial Media Marketing World

    Social Media Marketing World is Social Media Examiner's mega conference in San Diego, California at the waterfront Manchester Grand Hyatt. It includes a networking party on a naval aircraft carrier and much more!

    Presenters include Chris Brogan, Mari Smith, Michael Hyatt, Jay Baer, John Jantsch, Amy Porterfield, Mark Schaefer and experts from more than a dozen brands—just to name a few. Find out More

    Did you miss me at Content Marketing World 2013?

    Comtent Marketing World OnDemand Content Marketing World 2013 brought together the leading marketing thinkers and practitioners from around the globe. Over 1,700 marketers from 40 countries attended the annual event in Cleveland. But don't worry if you couldn't attend - or missed a valuable session - Get all the content of CMWorld 2013 OnDemand now!

     

     

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    Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/14363418@N00/5208937390/

    The post Small Business Tactics: 10 Tips For Holiday Sales Freedom appeared first on Heidi Cohen.