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How Community Involvement Can Boost Your Bottom Line
Companies that encourage community involvement distinguish themselves from their competitors, and see many benefits, including loyal customers and happier employees. According to a May 2013 study by Cone Communications and Echo Research, 82 percent of U.S. consumers consider corporate social responsibility (CSR) when deciding which products or services to buy and where to shop.

“I’ve found that customers really want to know how you’re making the world a better place,” says Erin Giles, an Aiken, S.C.-based business philanthropy consultant who helps entrepreneurs find causes they’re passionate about and incorporate their message into their business. Moms and Millennials are particularly interested in a business’ corporate social responsibility platform, Giles says.

Here are four things to consider when incorporating community service into your business plan.

1. Build relationships within your community.
Look at your community to see what’s important. Are the schools struggling? Does the animal shelter need donations? For example, Cody Pierce, vice president of marketing for Orange City, Iowa-based Pizza Ranch franchises, says the restaurants host “community impact” nights, where friends and family members bus tables to support a local cause, such as raising money for a class trip. Pizza Ranch donates the night’s tips and 5 to 20 percent of the profits to the cause, while community members often provide additional donations.

The business benefits because it fills the restaurant on a typically slow night. He says building relationships starts by making genuine connections with your customers, then finding ways you can contribute.

2. Get your employees on board.
Giving employees an avenue to give back is important to morale and builds a collaborative and inspired team, Giles says. “When your employees love what they’re doing, they do a better job,” she says. Giles suggests that businesses offer employees an opportunity to volunteer during work hours or participate in get-togethers after work, which is more fulfilling than just meeting for drinks.

Volunteering also provides leadership opportunities for employees, which leads to increased staff performance and fulfillment and, ultimately, increased productivity and sales, Giles notes.

3. Create a custom volunteer plan.
Giles recommends that business owners evaluate their business and employee strengths and select volunteer activities that draw upon those strengths. For example, if you own an accounting firm, you could volunteer to help a nonprofit set up their accounting practices or do their taxes.

Likewise, if you own a restaurant, consider catering a school staff meeting to show your appreciation for your local teachers. Pierce says this may open the door to future catering opportunities, an incremental way to increase revenue. Decide how much time your employees can volunteer through the business on an annual basis, taking into account your operation demands.

4. Let customers know how you’re giving back.
Once you’ve implemented your volunteer strategy, let current and prospective customers know what you’re doing by including this information on your website. Giles suggests putting a dollar amount of how much your donated time or services would normally cost next to the number of hours your employees have spent giving back so it’s easy for customers to understand how much your company gives to the community.

Mosaic Printing, Signage and Marketing Services,
250 West Main St, Branford, CT • 203-483-4598
http://www.mosaic247.net/

How to Acquire New Customers Through Recession Marketing

The world of marketing often seems so fast-paced and ever-changing, and it’s easy to want to rework and overhaul our strategies in order to fit the times. While this line of thinking may mosaic printing marketing tipsseem progressive, it often takes our “eyes off the prize” and causes us to lose focus on what’s really important when it comes to small business marketing.

True, the world of marketing is fast-paced. Times change. People change. Behavior changes. Businesses don’t necessarily need to change, but rather, adapt.

For example, today’s customers are adapting. They’re adapting to having less disposable income and doing more and more in order to make ends meet. Adapting to such a lifestyle takes time. For some, it’s easy. For others, it’s difficult. Likewise, businesses need to pay attention to their customers and potential customers. Everyone’s tightening their belts and holding on to their wallets. Businesses should be well aware, and their marketing strategies should adapt accordingly. Marketing to consumers who aren’t so eager to spend is somewhat of an art, yet recession marketing should definitely be in the repertoire of the modern small business looking to acquire new customers despite today’s struggling economy.

What exactly is recession marketing?

Firstly, let’s look at traditional marketing. A traditional marketing strategy may push a low price point or the immense features of a new product or service at a customer in order to drive them to buy. While such techniques certainly do have their place in the marketing world, recession marketing takes a slightly different slant in an attempt to reach customers who simply don’t have much money in the bank.

Recession marketing instead places emphasis on the cash a customer may save by buying or switching to a product. These savings may be due to the shortcomings of a competitor’s product or perhaps the result of the product eliminating the need for other products for the customer, thus resulting in more money saved. In short, recession marketing forces the consumer to weigh “wants” and “needs,” with the product in question hopefully being seen as a “need,” urging the consumer to buy.

We’ve seen these tactics at work over the last decade. How many infomercials have you seen for a cleaning product or super-sponge that heralds in the end of paper towels forever, saving you hundreds and hundreds over the course of the year? It may seem a bit silly and sometimes even hyperbolic, but such products are incredibly popular and such marketing tactics do work. Now, hopefully your product actually delivers on such promises, for that’s what will keep your customers coming back.

Another shining example of recession marketing comes from the hybrid car industry. How many ads have we seen over the years promising us big savings through the purchase of hybrid vehicles? Higher miles per gallon equals more money in the bank, right? Such savings combined with the growing environmental appeal make such cars a booming commodity.

Employing a recession marketing strategy also requires your business to show a bit of emotion. Why? In an economy where so many are struggling, it’s crucial to stand apart from the competition. Your customers should know that you understand their plight and that your product and service is here to help. By showing understanding and compassion, you’re not only more likely to acquire new customers but also retain them for the long-term. Consider creative ways you can employ such compassion in your marketing strategy, whether through marketing language on your website, emails or signage.

For small businesses, recession marketing is an especially effective route to go in today’s economy, granted that you know your audience. By appealing to the needs and emotions of your potential customers, you may grow a loyal base of business that will stay with you even after the recession ends.
Mosaic Printing, Signage and Marketing Services • 250 West Main St, Branford, CT • 203-483-4598
http://www.mosaic247.net/

Why a Press Release is a Small Biz Owner’s Secret Weapon

You’ve tried social media. You’ve written blog posts. You’re generating a modest amount of traffic back to your company’s website, but you want more.press release seo secret for better rankings

Have You Considered Press Releases?

They’re great for creating backlinks to your site, boosting SEO (though there is debate on that), and generally creating interest in your company.

You Don’t Need Big Guns if You’re Armed Properly

You might think only giant corporations use press releases. While they’re a part of most big companies’ marketing and PR strategies, press releases aren’t restricted to brands with bigger budgets and branding than yours. Many small businesses aren’t using press releases to drive traffic, and therein lies the benefit to you.  If your competitors aren’t reading this post, you’re one step ahead of them.

The Shotgun Approach Never Works

Many small business owners falsely assume that a press release will get the attention of major media. That rarely happens, so please adjust your expectations. When you distribute a release online, it gets your name on dozens of news and industry websites. And as you know, the more places your brand name or website are found, the more traffic you can send to your site.

Another option you have for distribution is pitching a journalist or blogger directly. Here’s the secret to that: start building media relationships long before you need them. Six months or more before you issue your release, you should be identifying journalists that cover your industry or competitors, following them on Twitter, and commenting on their articles. Link to them on LinkedIn. Find a reason to connect, without needing anything.

Then when you are ready to pitch them your news, they should have an inkling as to who you are. That saves you from being immediately dragged to the Trash bin in their email. From there, it’s up to you to sell a journalist on why her readers care about your news.

Do Press Releases Make a Big Bang, or Do They Shoot Blanks?

If you dig deep enough, you’ll find a debate on whether Google ranks websites higher when they publish press releases on multiple sites.

My theory is this: if you use what Google deems spammy press release distribution sites, it won’t help your placement in search results.  But if you work with reputable press release distribution sites then you may see your company rank higher, as long as you use the keywords you want people searching for to find you in your release.

Let’s say you want to be found when people type in “San Diego marketing firm.” It makes sense that you should use that phrase in the press release, right? Just don’t go overboard and stuff more than two or three keywords in your release.

Also, if you put out not-so-newsy press releases, Google will take notice. Don’t even consider putting the word “free” in a release, because it sets off the site’s spam triggers. With press releases being reviewed for quality, you have less to worry about with the better distribution sites.

Tracking the Kill

After you issue a press release, take a look at your analytics to see which sites that published it sent your site the most traffic. Take a look at where you ranked for specific keywords before you put out the press release, then check it afterward to see what movement, if any, there was.

Assessing this information, you can mold your PR strategy to get maximum results. If every release you issue about a business study you conducted gets mega hits, do more of those. If your announcement about relocating your office resulted in yawn-worthy traffic, stick to what your web visitors want more of.

Mosaic Printing, Signage and Marketing Services,
250 West Main St, Branford, CT   •  203-483-4598
http://www.mosaic247.net/

Promote your small business online successfully

Blogging for better website rank seoIn 2013, blogging may be more important than it ever has been, especially when it comes to small business marketing. Blogs are one of the best ways to help establish your brand, connect directly to your customers, and drive traffic to your website. Essentially, blogs are the first step in building an online presence for your small business, and in today’s world, that means helping your business become more successful.

When it comes to blog writing, or writing in general, every person has their own, unique style. But if you want to promote your small business online successfully, there are some important rules to follow when it comes to writing a blog.

You don’t want people to grimace when they read an article on your blog. The goal for any blog post should be to offer high quality content in the form of an easy-to-read, interesting article.

These are the kinds of posts that will help you build your small business’s online presence and help you successfully market your brand.

How to Write a Stellar Blog Article

If you want to write the perfect blog article, the first thing you need to do is come up with a powerful title. The title will be seen more than any other part of the article, and thus, it becomes very important to create a headline that encourages readers to actually read the article.

The second most important part of writing a great blog post lies in crafting the first 3 to 4 sentences well enough that your audience wants to read more. Similar to the headline, only longer, the opening of your blog article should compel your readers to read the rest of the post.

The next step is making use of good sub-headings. The primary goal with a sub-heading is to persuade readers to read the content that lies underneath it.

After persuading your readers with a powerful title, good opening, and an enticing sub-heading, it comes time to craft your content. There are two main themes to keep in mind when you’re writing content for your blog.

First, make an emotional connection. People tend to pay more attention when you trigger some type of emotion. Second, give good advice. Help people do something more easily, or explain something they don’t understand.

They will likely appreciate and remember you for it.

The Key to Successful Content

The tips listed above will help you craft a high quality blog article and help drive traffic to your website. But, the buck doesn’t stop there. If you really want to write a great blog article, you’ve got to focus on coming up with unique and interesting content to feature on your blog.

The key to writing successful content is, simply, to ask questions. Lots of them.

It doesn’t matter how interesting the topic is originally, because the blog writer’s job is figuring out how to make it interesting. The best way to make a not-so-interesting topic more interesting is to ask questions.

There are a couple of reasons why questions make things more interesting. Mainly, questions clarify the purpose and direction of the undertaking so that the opportunity to benefit from learning something new arises. Instead of just filing up space, you’re presenting the chance to grow.

The other reason blog writers should focus on asking questions and seeking answers is because there will always be an audience who also has similar questions, and they will likely be looking for the same answers.

By asking questions, not only do your blog articles become easier to write and more worthwhile, they also become a chance for you to create authentic, meaningful content that will help to create an audience that has confidence in you (and your business).

Mosaic Printing, Signage and Marketing Services,
250 West Main St, Branford, CT   •  203-483-4598
http://www.mosaic247.net/