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Posts Tagged ‘strategic partnership’

Order Business Cards and Get A FREE Domain Name

By John Joyce on August 23, 2011 - Comments 0

MOO and Network Solutions have teamed up to bring a great offer to small business owners here in the US.  If you purchase MOO Business Cards or MiniCards between now and September 4th, you’ll get a free domain name from Network Solutions.

It doesn’t get much easier than that.  MOO alllows you to create high-quality, unique Business Cards or MiniCards where you can showcase yourself or business with a unique image on the back of each card.  Take advantage of this offer now.


Building Your Online Marketing Ecosystem Part X: Vertical Communities

By John Joyce on March 25, 2010 - Comments 0

Effective Use of Social Networks for Small Business OwnersFacebook and similar networks where “socializing” is truly the main objective can be ineffective marketing platforms for many businesses. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have a fan page for your business but, what I am saying is that you have to prioritize the amount of effort you provision for each online marketing vehicle based on simple ROTI.  (Return On Time Invested)  For each network, you must ask yourself 1) How do you find your target audience? 2) How do you convey your message in a way that is meaningful to them? 3) Should you be marketing to people who have become members of the mafia or have started a farm? (you know exactly what I’m talking about)

Wouldn’t it make more sense to put your effort into a network of like-minded business people who are actually interested in professional networking, business deals and partnerships? I have been using LinkedIn since 2003 when it was in beta and it is, by far, the most effective business networking tool I have ever used.

Vertical Social Networks for Small Business

Click image to view interactive online marketing ecosystem

Of course, the only way to know which network is best for your particular business model is to test both platforms.  An easy way to do this is to run some simple advertisements on LinkedIn and Facebook.  You set all demographic criteria to narrow down your target audience.  You can also set a daily limit for spend and choose to pay per click (PPC) or per thousand impressions (CPM).

Building your marketing ecosystem is a balancing act where you must test, evaluate, rinse and repeat.  It’s important to build your online presence but it’s even more important to optimize your efforts which is a perpetual learning experience.


Building Your Online Marketing Ecosystem Part 1: The Foundation

By John Joyce on November 3, 2009 - Comments 0

Building_A_FoundationThe first step of every business identity creation process is to build a solid foundation from which you can nurture a living, growing online presence. Because business owners become so entrenched in the day to day operations of their company, they don’t consider taking a step back to objectively reflect on the “state of the business”. Much of what I’m going to tell you in this post might seem incredibly elementary and you might even want to say, “duh”, to me. However, this simplified approach works even for an established business that wants to verify that their marketing strategy maps to their overall business goals. Let’s begin:

Who Am I? Why Am I Here? Admiral James Stockdale, although he picked the wrong venue, asked two important questions that should be pondered by any business owner. In many cases a business’ personality is as important as the product/service being offered. So, a clear understanding of “who” offers a identifiable persona to which prospective and existing customers can relate.

What do we do? This can be one of the most difficult messages to nail down for a small business but it is vital to the success of your marketing initiatives. Not only must you clearly articulate what you do but it’s imperative you differentiate your offering and communicate value.  Don’t get caught up in the trap of listing fifty features and all of the “cool widgets and gadgets” you have built.  Tell them how you are going to impact their bottom line and make them more successful.

Who Cares? Rather than engage in outbound marketing to the masses, now is the time to identify the characteristics of your dream customer and focus on driving them to your site.  If you already have happy customers, reach out to them and ask if they would be interested in participating in a quick survey.  The data you collect will shed light on why they chose to do business with you, what you can do better and it gives you the opportunity to thank them for their business.

Where Are They Looking? The final step, after identifying and segmenting your target audience is to understand where they go to find information about you/your product/your service. There are the obvious places such as search engines but, to dig a little deeper, you have to do some research and identify specific places (websites, Q&A sites, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) where people are talking about what you do and then you have to become an active participant by offering valuable information and linking back to your site where possible.

This entire process is continuous but it will organically build your brand and online presence over time. You have to be committed to this process and willing to commit the necessary time and effort. You will learn about the market, prospective customers, current customers, keyword strategy, potential new markets, and even potential partnerships with related businesses.

Once you identify the Who, What and Where, you will be better suited to develop your core message and consistently present it across all possible mechanisms.


It’s Your Network, Stupid: A Business’ Underutilized Asset

By admin on January 28, 2009 - Comments 0

I have been working in the technology sector longer than I’d like to admit and, after freelancing on the side for awhile, I recently ventured out on my own. I found that I have a knack for energizing start-ups and small businesses as a “fresh set of eyes” with a perpetual “out-of-the-box” perspective on any business. In mid-December, one of my clients asked me if I could get a meeting with a much larger company in the hopes of establishing a strategic partnership.

I didn’t have any contacts at the other company so I logged into my LinkedIn account. When I located the CEO of the company, LinkedIn informed me that I had one contact who was directly linked to him. This particular contact was my manager at a fortune 50 company nearly twenty years ago (I was enrolled in a cooperative education program and traveled out to Oregon from Boston for a 4 month job) I sent an email to my contact outlining the opportunity and asked if he could introduce me to the CEO. That same day he made the introduction, the CEO engaged his VP of business development and we had a conference call two days later. We’re currently negotiating a substantial strategic partner agreement that will be extremely valuable to both companies.

Take the time to build and maintain your business network. Periodically review your contacts and think of creative ways to partner and/or generate leads.  You never know from where your next big business deal might originate.


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