3 Ways to Keep Your Marketing Going Year-Round

Does the arrival of sunny summer days affect your marketing plans? If you answered yes, you may end up getting burned!  No matter the season, and no matter the business climate, it is important to have a consistent marketing plan to keep customers walking through the door all year long. Here are three ways to keep your marketing momentum going:

  1. Keep in touch with current clients. Whether your downtime is during the summer or just a result of economic fluctuations, you have to keep your business in front of customers to keep them coming back when they’re ready (or offer creative promotions to entice them even if they aren’t!). Tip: One tactic to stay in touch is to send an email newsletter with updates on what’s new, or a special offer with a discount for return business. Don’t forget the expiration date.
  2. Connect with prospects. You never know when a potential customer will be looking for precisely the kind of service or product you provide, and if your message isn’t the one reaching them, then another business’ will. Although they may not reach out to you until later, there are always prospects researching your company, and this “education and evaluation” stage is a key part of the buying cycle. Tip: Post frequently on your website or social media with links, blogs, and insights so you become the “go to” resource for your product or service.
  3. Experiment with what works best for your audience. When you run year-round marketing campaigns, you can track responses to find out many things. One of the most important findings is learning which type of promotion got the most feedback. That information can be helpful for planning future ads/promotions to reach your particular audience in the method they like best. Tip: To make the most of your marketing dollars, you can recycle content and use the same campaign in different formats (print, broadcast, social media, website); just alter the length of the copy to suit the medium.

Marketing year-round is actually easy when you incorporate seasonal themes. Need help developing campaigns or analyzing what works? Call us!

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3 Tips to Boost Your SEO with PR

Most businesses pursue media coverage as free advertising, to a ready-made audience, and to enhance a company’s credibility. But as a marketing tool, PR can result in powerful editorial links which help boost your SEO. And since SEO drives more potential customers to your site, the million dollar marketing question is how can you get PR coverage–and ultimately more links?

  1. Create good content. Content that is well written, timely and relevant will get you natural links, which in turn will give you good rankings and increased website traffic.  As an added bonus, the same content can repurposed to create other content. For instance, an online or print article can become a blog or a newsletter story, and these in turn can become also become additional links.
  2. Send out more than just press releases. Today, successful PR means building relationships with journalists and media outlets.  Such an association could be attractive to both parties—they get leads on new events, products, or services; the firm gets coverage in print and/or online. Bonus: Since journalists often quote, comment or enlarge upon other journalist’s work, as do bloggers, if you get your story covered in one prominent media outlet, you’ll likely see a cascade of similar stories and get links you never even asked for.
  3. Use PR links on different pages on your website. While it is important to have as many good quality relevant links as possible coming into your site, it is equally important that these go to different pages across your site. This will allow you to target more relevant links to each specific page. This will not only improve users experience more but will allow search engines to see that your site has lots of valid content, boosting PageRank. Sites that only have links going to the homepage are often viewed as shallow by search engines.  Another tip: As you develop articles, blogs, releases, etc., use a keyword that ties back to a specific area of your website. For instance, if your business has events, or special offers, any publicity or announcements should have one keyword or phrase that is used on that specific area of your website.  This helps your business page show up on different kinds of internet searches.

Remember, partnering with an outside consultant or agency is the most immediate way to start incorporating PR into link-building campaigns.  JigSaw can help you in any area of content development to not only help SEO, but also to connect with clients, promote your products or services, and help you achieve your business goals. Contact us for info!

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5 Reasons JigSaw Makes Time to Volunteer

Despite crazy busy personal and professional lives, the JigSaw Team still makes time to volunteer. Here’s why we do it…and why you may want to consider it, too.

  1. Personal growth: Volunteering gives you new skills and knowledge. For instance, Kathy volunteered to be part of a home build for Habitat for Humanity last year. The experience helped her gain confidence in her ability to handle home repairs–who knew she could use a nail gun so proficiently? Meanwhile, Katie has volunteered to step into ballroom dancing shoes and be part of the fundraising effort for the local non-profit Harford County Center for the Arts as a dancer in their Dancing for Arts Gala. While the ultimate goal is to raise money to support construction of a performing arts venue, she will “waltz” away with a new skill, too.
  2. Gaining perspective: It’s easy to get caught up in the hectic pace of commutes, deadlines and all the duties of working while also running a household. And although those things can be stressful, volunteering is a reminder that we are actually fortunate to be dealing with struggles which, in the grand scheme of things, are really minor. When Katie worked at a local soup kitchen handing out brown bag lunches to the homeless, she was amazed by the sheer number of people in line, and humbled by their dignity and gratitude expressed simply for receiving a sandwich and a bag of chips.
  3. A sense of accomplishment: Giving back to society yields a sense of achievement that no paycheck can duplicate. Volunteering offers intangible benefits like the smile on the child’s face after reading them a story after school or the sparkle in a senior citizen’s eyes when you take the time to just sit and listen to them. Katie volunteers as a dog handler for Animal Rescue Inc., and finds nothing more satisfying than helping a shy or frightened dog come out of its shell and start to wag its tail and trust again so it’s better suited to finding a new home. In addition to just feeling good, volunteering actually IS good for you.
  4. Making a difference: The world is not perfect and many people, animals, and places need help.  Volunteers can make a difference, whether it’s with time, money, or talents. Kathy was inspired to do exactly that after her friend, Danyelle Filiaggi, tragically took her own life after battling depression. As a member of the Board of the Friends R Family Foundation, an organization created in Danyelle’s memory, she works to educate others about mental health and dispel the stigma surrounding the seeking of treatment for it so other families can be spared from the pain she sees her friend’s daughters and husband endure as they deal with Danyelle’s absence from their lives.
  5. Building your network: Although it is the least important of the reasons the JigSaw team chooses to volunteer, being part of such an effort is a great way to meet new people and make connections. For example, Kathy’s experiences on the Habitat for Humanity build and with the Friends R Family Foundation have put her in touch with several new clients, and those clients have led to additional connections. But the bigger benefit from those alliances?  The creation of new friendships forged as the individuals worked together toward a common goal, which ultimately makes the planet a better, happier home for all of us.
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7 Tips to Make Your Marketing Campaign A Success

Ready to promote an event  or launch a new product or service? Here are seven tips to help make your campaign a success:

  1. Be sure that all of your communications are consistent in look and message and have a visible link to your website or registration page.
  2. Use save-the-dates and occasional teasers as soon as you have a firm time/date/location etc.
  3. Develop a working event/product/service landing page. The landing page should be accurate with a functional registration form if its an event, or a simple contact form to collect email addresses.
  4. After your initial “save the date” email, send out another message about six-weeks prior. This email should have a clear call-to-action and lead to a registration form for events.
  5. As your event/product launch gets closer, increase mentions of it along with your normal social media content. Use images when possible as they boost online sharing. At the six-week mark, do this once or twice a week. In the few days before, post daily.
  6. Send a reminder email a few days before your event/product launch. Some businesses are also increasing engagement by using Twitter and text messaging. (Just be sure to collect the necessary contact info during registration!)
  7. Finally, on the day of your launch or during the event, post a hashtag prominently to encourage online interaction. Re-tweet or share posts of great photos or comments. If you don’t have the manpower to do this at the event itself, do it the next day.
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Funny Business: How Humor Can Help Your Company Thrive

There have been many scientific studies proving the benefits of laughter to a person’s health. Some of those include strengthening the immune system, boosting energy, diminishing pain, and offering protection from the damaging effects of stress. But injecting humor—and its by-product, laughter—into your professional communications can be beneficial to the health of your business, too.

First of all, humor is good for your staff, promoting a sense of well-being and spurring creativity and collaboration. It also helps your team see things from a different perspective so they can come up with new ideas and solutions to your problems. Outside of the firm, clients that laugh at your emails, social media posts and ads receive the physical wellness benefits, and thus form a positive connection with your company.

In addition to health perks, humor in your business message helps you connect with others and seem more approachable. It can also make your firm more memorable. Your customers are inundated with Facebook posts, tweets, YouTube videos and emails every day, so making your message fun and funny can go a long way to getting and keeping their attention.

When you add humor to your business communications, remember these five rules:

  1. Know your audience
  2. Be brief
  3. Use appropriate language
  4. Tie the humorous reference to something your audience is interested in
  5. Stay positive and stay away from any references that might offend

Now that you know how humor can help your business, here are a few ideas to inject some into your marketing.

  • Deliver data with a punchline. Puns in headlines are a great attention-grabber.
  • Repost funny cartoons that have to do with your business. If you use cartoons on social-media feeds, check to see if there is a copyright. If there is, pay for it; if there isn’t, link the cartoon back to the original site.
  • Use a pop culture meme—think the camel from “hump day “—sometimes that’s enough to make your audience smile.
  • Showcase your product/service in a humorous video or series of videos. You could try a time travel theme for instance—complete with staff in old clothes—to illustrate how your product/service can bring clients back to the future.
  • Try animation. You can become an animator yourself using low-cost or free online tools. Check out some of the options at https://www.toonboom.com/free-animation-software.
  • Finally, why not try soliciting humor from your followers? Maybe have a contest asking them to caption a funny picture that somehow relates to your product/service.

Whatever you do, don’t be afraid to have a little fun with your business! Are you doing anything LOL-able? Tell us your stories!

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How to Build A Business Partnership

How do you get started establishing partnerships with other like-minded companies? Here are five tips:

First, look for businesses related to your industry. For example, if you have a website design service, it could be helpful to work with a copywriting business. You can handle the technical end of things, while they take on the creative development.

Second, and this is probably the scariest part – you have to reach out to the other business.  Start by contacting the CEO, whether it’s through a form on their website, a connection on LinkedIn, or by following up on an introduction made at a networking event or another business associate.

Third, have a specific idea to pitch to them, such as a cross-promotion offering a discount on services if the referring firm is mentioned by name. Agree to start by announcing in newsletters and on your respective websites and social media, or even just by mentioning the deal to customers over the phone.

Next, do a test run of the promotion to introduce it to customers. The first effort may not be successful, but don’t give up. Work together to find a way to jazz up the appeal of the promotion if it doesn’t have the initial hoped-for effect.

Finally, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Continue partnering with other businesses to organically expand the products and services YOUR firm provides. Little by little you will create a group of trusted professionals that will have a loyal, and constantly growing, customer base.

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