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This article is reproduced with the kind permission of Cormac O’Kelly & Social Media Management

 

“Digital Darwinism” is a phrase that has been appearing more and more. This simple idea basically links digital marketing with natural selection. Simply put, “Those who evolve will survive”.

Whether you like it or not digital media is here to stay and has taken over. Everything has gone digital; radio has gone digital, TV has gone digital and even print has gone digital. What this says to those who have yet to engage or those who have resisted change is that there really is no choice but to engage via these channels. Once the media channels you used to use  move to a new platform, you no longer have the choice or are able to resist. Any business, whether it’s business2business or business2consumer, needs to reach their customers and potential customers.

Why you don’t have a choice:

  • Your customers are nto paying attention to where you currently are
  • Your customers cannot find you where they are looking
  • Your competitors are using these new(er) digital tools to sell there products and services more efficiently and in turn steal your customers.

You are probably saying, “Not in my industry”! If you are, you are wrong! Every single industry out there is being disrupted by new technologies. This applies to the way the industry works and functions and to the way they reach their customers.

What should you be doing? Here are some steps you should be taking.

Digital Presence

If you don’t have any real estate online you’re in BIG trouble. Your website has the ability to be one of the most powerful sales tools in your arsenal. The bad news… Just being online isn’t enough. Your website from 5 years ago isn’t going to live up to the modern expectations of your customers and is most likely going to make them angry. You need to consider everything from the user experience to the functionality and especially the design.

SEO/Local SEO

Phonebooks are now commonplace holding open doors and propping up ‘wobbly’ tables and stuff. When people need something, they Google it. If they don’t Google, they use Bing or Yahoo!. If you haven’t put much work into optimizing your digital presence for the search engines of the world, you’ve got a lot of catching up to do. If you’re business covers a wide geographic space, you’re going to have some more intense competition. If you’re covering a small local area you have a big opportunity, but it won’t last. Simply put … The sad truth is that if you don’t show up in the first page of the search results your customers will move on.

Customer Retention Plan

This needs to be a well thought-out process involving multiple forms of media. Everybody has a shorter attention span than ever before and are a lot less patient. This means that when we need something we need it NOWand that we might easily forget about the things we like or want. There are a million options out there and the perfect plan for your company will depend on how your business operates, who your customer is, and what they need from you. A few of the options would include

  • Ongoing and creative newsletters or email campaigns
  • Digital customer service
  • Customer rewards program

… but there is lots more besides.

Content Strategy

Most of the time the content on your website is static, meaning it doesn’t get updated often (if at all). This is bad for many reasons. One being that you aren’t giving your customers a reason to come back to the site. Twobeing that the search engines tend to favor the sites that are updated often. Another trend online right now is that brands are creating and sponsoring content that their customers will enjoy and hopefully find valuable. Instead of an advertisement trying to persuade the consumer to buy, they’re providing entertainmentinsight or value through content creation. This is being done through editorial format as well as through audio, video and images. You can build a loyal following of brand followers with the right content strategy… alternatively you can waste your time with the wrong one.

There’s a lot of adapting and “evolving” for businesses to take on right now but the list above should get you started. If you have any questions or need any help, contact me.

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  1. The most important order you ever get from any customer is the second order.
  2. Understanding and adapting to consumer motivation is not an option. It is an absolute necessity for competitive survival.
  3. Know the power of repetition. Your message must be consistent.
  4. The two most common mistakes companies make when using the phone is failing to track results and tracking the wrong thing.
  5. Marketing activities should be designed to increase profits, not just sales.
  6. It costs five times as much to sell a new customer as an existing customer. Get out that customer list!
  7. Selling what your customers need, instead of what you think they want, will lead to failure.
  8. Don’t think that product superiority, technology, innovation or company size will sell itself.
  9. Don’t neglect or ignore your current customers while pursuing new ones.
  10. People don’t buy products, they buy the benefits and solutions they believe the products provide.
  11. The average business never hears from 96% of its dissatisfied customers.
  12. 50% of those customers who complain would do business with the company again if their complaints were handledsatisfactorily.
  13. It is estimated that customers are twice as likely to talk about their bad experiences as their good ones.
  14. Exaggerated claims produce inflated expectations that the product or service cannot live up to, thereby resulting in dissatisfiedcustomers.
  15. Get to know your prime customers—the 20% of product/service users who account for 80% of the total consumption of that product class.

Hope it helps.

· · · ·

….. Peter Gordon.

The other category and image winners for 2013 were as follows:

The various images of those who won in various categories.

Click on the image to be taken to the gallery of winners for 2013

 

2013 Best Architecture Portfolio – Enda Cavanagh

2013 Best Architecture Image – No Award Given

2013 Best Commercial / Advertising Award – Cormac Byrne

2013 Best Fashion & The Human Form Portfolio – Michael Hayes

2013 Best Fashion & The Human Form Image – Edel Kelly

2013 Best Landscape Portfolio – Peter Gordon

2013 Best Landscape Image – Peter Gordon

2013 Best Open Art & Creativity Portfolio – Michael McLoughlin

2013 Best Open Art & Creativity Image – Michael McLoughlin

2013 Best Children & Family Portraiture Portfolio – Corin Bishop

2013 Best Children & Family Portraiture Images – Corin Bishop

2013 Best Classical Portrait Portfolio – Claire Durkin

2013 Best Classical Portrait Image – Claire Durkin

2013 Best Contemporary Portrait Portfolio – Claire Dunne

2013 Best Contemporary Portrait Image – Maria Dunphy

2013 Best Press & P.R. Portfolio – No Award Given

2013 Best Press & P.R. Image – Michael McLaughlin

2013 Best Pictorial, Travel & Fine Art Portfolio – Peter Gordon

2013 Best Pictorial, Travel & Fine Art Image – Peter Gordon

2013 Best Wedding Classical Portfolio – Paddy Clarke

2013 Best Wedding Classical Image – Paddy Clarke

2013 Best Contemporary Wedding Portfolio – Peter Gordon (Merit Award also awarded to Dermot Culhane)

2013 Best Contemporary Wedding Image – Dermot Culhane

2013 Best Wildlife Portfolio – Sheena Jolley

2013 Best Wildlife Image – Phil Pound

A special mention to Raimonda Milasiene who took home the 2013 Student of the Year IPPA Award.

Many congratulations to all those who, not only won awards this year but to those who entered and participated in the process. Many thanks to Mick Quinn and the other judges who gave their time throughout the year the judging sessions and finally to those on counsel responsible for the organisation of the awards ceremony. Well done all!

More on the 2013 awards and the winners over the coming days and weeks.

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Marketing Options

Whether it was putting an ad in a newspaper, recording a jingle for the radio or shooting a commercial for television, marketing campaigns used to require a lot of cash. While those methods still exist, the Internet has opened new avenues for businesses to market their products and services for free.

Here are seven ways to promote your business without spending a dime.

 

Facebook

As the most popular social networking site, Facebook gives businesses a free outlet to reach millions of potential new customers. Similarly to how individual Facebook users can create personal pages, businesses can set up their own dedicated page on Facebook to help grow their venture, build brand awareness and develop relationships with consumers. Besides providing all the business’ vitals – including name, location, phone number and Web address – the Facebook page gives businesses a forum to speak to their customers about company news, special promotions and new products. Many businesses also use their Facebook page to run contests and free giveaways as a way to attract new shoppers.

 

www.strikingimages.ie

Twitter

The popular micro-blogging site Twitter is also a way to reach new customers without the expense. Twitter offers businesses a platform for connecting their brand with things people care about. The social networking site bills itself as a canvas for telling engaging stories, broadcasting content, connecting directly with consumers and driving transactions. The site provides businesses with a unique opportunity to see what their customers are saying, ask them questions and respond to their concerns. Businesses can also use Twitter to run special deals and promotions.

 

Local Listing Services

For many consumers, the Internet is the first place they look when searching for a business. Since local search entries are often the first choices given in a search query, businesses can easily attract new customers and clients by simply making sure they are listed on the sites. The local search listings offer businesses an easy way to highlight their location, hours and contact information. The most popular local search listing sites are Google Places, Yahoo! Local and Microsoft Bing.

 

Press release websites

Getting a little free publicity from newspapers, radio and television stations and blogs is a great way to attract new business. One way to catch the eye of the local media is to send out releases touting new products or services, as well as company news and special promotions. In today’s digital age, many journalists search through press release websites for new and interesting story ideas. A number of websites, such as Free Press Release, PR Log, 24/7 Press Release and I-Newswire, offer the opportunity to post press releases on their site for free. In addition to exposure on the site, the releases are distributed to major search engines, making their reach even greater.

 

Online video

Few things create buzz for a business more than a great viral video. While not every video will become a huge hit, they do provide a more engaging way to get information to consumers. While a normal ad won’t do the trick, businesses can use creative videos to build new interest in their company. Examples include videos of company parties for those who were unable to attend, how-to videos for consumers looking for more information on using a product or service, and video confessionals of happy customers and clients. While posting videos on YouTube remains the most popular route, small businesses also can take advantage of other sites like Viddler, Vimeo, Dailymotion and Ustream.

 

Pinterest

While it is true of all social networking sites, using Pinterest successfully requires more than just cramming products and promotions down consumer’s throats. Pinterest gives users their online pin board, where they can “pin” up links and photos to things they like and are interested in. However, businesses only posting pics of their products on the site won’t find many new customers. In order to be successful on Pinterest, businesses must think about the type of content their customers would be interested in. Instead of just sharing images and links to existing product pages, blog posts and websites, businesses should share content that other users will love sharing. A bakery, for example, might use Pinterest to post cupcake recipes, frosting tips, party ideas and other topics for followers.

 

Instagram

Similarly to Pinterest, businesses using the photo-sharing site Instagram must be more creative than just posting picture of products if they want to win customers. It requires building a following of users that want to see their point of view, whether they’re selling something or not. When posting promotional photos, they must be creative. For example, restaurants might show photos of people eating their food, while fashion retailers can post pictures of customers wearing their clothes. The site can also be used to host fun contests that involve customers posting their own photos of them using a business’ product.

 

Hope it helps!

 

Cormac

 

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As October arrives and brings with it darker nights, this is typically when big business (at least any that I worked for) would begin to circle the wagons. Why? Generally because the end of the year looms large and any excuses for missed targets, overshot budgets, forgotten rebates or any other balance sheet item that has been overlooked now needs a well crafted and believable excuse to explain the errors to the upper echelons of the company.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the same time it is necessary to make plans for the new year ahead. A time to set targets. To devise a way of reaching the targets and plan any promotions for the year too. I only mention it as it is an idea that I have brought from those very large businesses and adopted into my own (small) business.

So have you set financial / marketing / personal / targets for 2013?

As well as this ask yourself are you making the following five common marketing mistakes?

Are You Overlooking Mobile?

Currently  there  are  over  5.5  billion  mobile  device  subscriptions  across  the  globe.  As a  consumer,  I  definitely  access  as  many  websites  from  mobile  devices  as  I  do  from a  desktop  or  laptop.    And  it  turns  out,  I’m  not  alone.  By  2015,  it  is  predicted  that  we’ll see  more  than  788  million  mobile-­only  Internet  users  with  mobile  browsing  (for  the web)  surpassing  desktop  browsing.  A  mobile-­optimized  website  is  no  longer  a “nice-­to-­have,”  it’s  a  must. Your  customers  expect  you  to  have  a  mobile-­friendly site.  Mobile  should  be  a  critical  component  of  your  digital  marketing  strategy  for 2013 and beyond.

Focusing More on Acquisition than Retention?

As businesspeople in photography, we  have  to  develop  a  strategy  that  focuses  on  both  acquiring  new customers  and  retaining  existing  ones.  Far  too  often businesses  shift focus  to  being  too  acquisition  centric.  Acquisition  is  important  don’t  get  me  wrong,  but there  needs  to  be  a  balance.  The  cost  of  retaining  a  customer  is  significantly  less than  that  of  acquiring  one  (as  much  as  20%  less!).  Another  hard  truth  is  that  repeat customers  spend  more  than  new  ones.  Marketing  is  equally  about  retention  as  it  is about  acquisition  so  don’t  forget  to  consider  how  you’ll  deepen  relationships  with existing  customers  (particularly  high  value  ones)  in  2013.

Are You Marketing Your Aspirations?

Every  business  aspires  to  be  something  greater.  We  all  have  (and  should  have) that  massive  audacious  goal.  But  we’re  not  marketing  what  we  aspire  to  be,  we’re marketing  who  we  are  today.  Marketing  your  aspirations  can  create major  problems  if  you  can’t  live  up  to  them.  Keep  your  aspirations  in  mind  when planning  and  executing,  but  don’t  market  them  to  your  customers.

Are You Letting Research Dictate Plans

This was something that every company I have ever worked with has fallen victim too. You  should  review  data  and  research  to  keep  you  informed,  but you  shouldn’t  let  it  entirely  dictate  your  plans.  Research  is  a  valuable  tool  for planning and indeed marketing,  but  research  can  be  misleading  at  times.  There  are  just  some  things  that research  simply  can’t  predict.  And  consumers  don’t  always  know  how  they  are feeling  or  what  they  want.  And  they  don’t  always  know  how  they  will  feel  in  the future.  Two  years  ago  my  wife  told  me  she  would  never  own  a  tablet.  She  just didn’t  see  value  in  it  when  she  had  a  laptop  and  a  smartphone.  Guess  who has since bought an iPad?  It’s  hard  to  predict  how  consumers  will  react  to  things  in the  future.  Research  should  guide,  not  lead.

Are You Playing by the book

Plans  are  important.  We  need  plans  to  keep  us  focused  and  on  track,  but  at  the  end of  the  day  plans  are  just  words  on  paper.  We  should  always  count  on  plans changing  course.  Think  of  your  marketing  plans  as  a  compass  and  not  a  map. Leave  some  room  for  a bit of adventure and use your plans as a guide.

Hope it helps!

Cormac

Striking Images Photography

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