Don’t Let Your Personal Brand Suffer During Self-Quarantine

As I look back over the past three months, I realize that the way we work is forever changed due to the restrictions of the global pandemic. Most of us dislike change, particularly when it is forced upon us, but we adapt. The ways we market our businesses and ourselves are part of the mix. Unfortunately, many of us have taken the “casual approach” now that we are stuck at home, relegated to a small converted workspace in our house in less than ideal conditions. Your business self and your personal self are no longer distinctly defined, but rather a blurred and somewhat messy version of the two.

So, why does this matter?

Because we still need to put our best self – our professional self – forward when conducting business. This means making an effort with our personal brand. If you go to an office or attend a client meeting, you want to present yourself professionally. You want to be taken seriously. You want to close the deal. You want people to respect you. Therefore, it’s more important than ever to invest time and energy into your personal brand. As I’ve noted in a previous blog, your personal brand is a collective perception of your professional assets and your reputation.

Zoom pulled back the curtain.

Blurred Lines

I’ve worked from home since 2008, so self-quarantine was not a big deal for me. Like most of us, when I’m at home, I like to be comfortable. If I don’t have any outside meetings, I’m in my yoga pants and t-shirt; no makeup, my hair has good days and bad. However, Zoom was a game-changer! I’ll never forget the first time that someone scheduled a Zoom meeting with me. I accepted but gave little thought to the mechanics of Zoom, i.e., visual vs. auditory-only. Ten minutes before the meeting, I realized that I was not the best, most professional version of myself. So, what did I do? I put a piece of tape over my computer’s camera and apologized to my prospect. We had a good laugh, but the experience taught me a valuable lesson: I need to be more aware of my personal brand when I’m in business-mode.

Another example of blurred lines occurred when I scheduled a #Zoom-meetingZoom meeting with a vendor who I felt could help one of my clients. I had met him previously and like his approach. When we met via Zoom, my immediate reaction was, “Dude, could you have at least combed your hair?” Here he was sitting in front of the camera, wearing a sweatshirt, and looked like he just rolled out of bed. On top of that, the room in the background showed junk piled everywhere! Yes, it was distracting, and it did give me pause about hiring him to work with my client.

Perceptions Matter

Seven seconds. That’s how long you have to make a first impression. While you can change someone’s perception of you over time, you never get a second chance to make a first impression, and that is usually the one that sticks. Therefore, we all need to be aware of which mode we are in, business vs. personal when we are meeting and interacting with others.

For professionals such as entrepreneurs, freelancers, and consultants, a  prospect’s or client’s #first-impressionfirst impression determines whether you secure the business or not. Think about what it says to you when you see someone wearing clean, pressed business attire with combed hair and a smile versus seeing someone wearing a wrinkled t-shirt, messy hair, and a tired look on their face. Who are you more apt to want to do business with based solely on your first impression?

Working from home and holding meetings over Zoom is not an excuse to be lazy or unprofessional. Get ready as if you were going into the office or meeting the client at their place of business. Make sure you look presentable and have your materials prepared so you can speak professionally. Pick a spot with a clean background, even if that means working against a blank wall. If your makeshift home office leaves something to be desired, consider uploading a general office background to use on Zoom so your client isn’t distracted by anything they may see around you and can focus on the discussion at hand.

Be True to Your Brand

You have a short amount of time to capture your client’s attention and make a positive first impression. Now that you’ve established yourself as a consummate professional – even when working from home – focus on continuing to present yourself in the best light possible. Preparation is key. Know the facts about what you are discussing and what sets you or your business apart. What story do you want to tell? Reassure clients through your behavior and conversation that even in these turbulent times, you have not lost focus and are still committed to your mission and vision. Be authentic and genuine in your approach to build trust and credibility.

And, one last point, you can still wear your yoga pants unless you are making a full-scale presentation.

Times are changing, and you must learn how to change with them. If you’re struggling to keep up and your personal brand has become fuzzy (or lost altogether), don’t dismay. There is still time to turn things around and get back on track. YGL Enterprises has a wealth of experience assisting professionals in building (or re-building) their brand and determining how they want to be seen. Pandemic or not, who you are and the message you convey matters. Contact us today to develop a clear strategy for the future.


Why a CRM is Essential for Businesses

If the Coronavirus pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we need to be prepared for the unexpected. As businesses scrambled to adapt to the “new normal” of selling and promoting their products and services under restrictive guidelines, those companies who had invested in Customer Relationship Management tools (CRMs) were able to communicate valuable information to their customers immediately. We all experienced the plethora of emails from companies that “they were open for business,” but in a new way. While the constant barrage of information was sometimes annoying, we were comforted to know that we could still purchase our favorite goods and services, just in a new way or during certain hours.  However, many businesses were scrambling to communicate with their customers due to a lack of an organized system of customer contact information.

Regardless of the size of the company or the product or service offering, all businesses need to invest in a customer relationship management system. There are numerous reasonably priced options available to meet any budget. Check out Business News Daily’s recent blog that details several choices.

While the primary #benefit-of-using-a-CRMbenefit of using a CRM system is the ability to quickly and efficiently communicate information to all or specific segments of your customer base, additional advantages include:

  • Building relationships and increasing customer loyalty and satisfaction
  • Serving as a management strategy that allows businesses to scale
  • Maintaining a record of conversations, purchases, and marketing material can be associated with leads and customers
  • Increasing customer retention and profits
  • One-stop access to organized data about their customers and prospects

Ultimately, CRMs help businesses learn about their customers, what they purchase, how they move through the sales process, and which marketing initiatives are most successful.

Improved Organization

Strong customer relationships are crucial to the ongoing success of any business. A CRM system is the cornerstone of those efforts.  So, what does a CRM program do? At a basic level, it manages the interactions between a business and its current and potential customers. By inputting customer data into a CRM, organization is a snap. Not only is your CRM a repository for client contact information and client purchasing history, but it also allows you to nurture leads and build customer loyalty. You have a wealth of knowledge in a single location, where marketing and sales employees can easily access real-time client information and respond accordingly.

Targeted Marketing

Additionally, CRMs allow businesses to segment their customer base and customize marketing approaches. By evaluating a customer’s purchase history or service history, you can more effectively determine what other products or promotions may interest them. Rather than wasting time and energy sending emails that go unread and make your customer feel as though you don’t know their needs, you can zero in on what is most important to them and where you can add value.

Enhanced Customer Satisfaction

Understanding your customers’ preferences and buying habits allows businesses to build long-lasting relationships by tracking trends and anticipating your customers’ exact needs. A CRM system also enables you to spot issues and respond quickly to customer inquiries. Today’s savvy customer expects businesses to react in real-time to their ever-changing needs. Whether a customer contacts your company via “live chat,” email. or by phone, the customer expects that they will be speaking to someone who is knowledgeable about their situation – and by opening their file in the CRM platform, you have access to everything you need to know right in front of you.

Adaptable to Any Business

Whether you run a large company with hundreds of customers, or a small mom-and-pop boutique with just a handful of clients, you can benefit from investing in a CRM. Systems are scalable to fit your needs and activity. It is a good idea to implement a system on the front end, not when a crisis is imminent.  Why waste your time trying to organize everything by hand or on an Excel spreadsheet, when so much can be automated for you? Save yourself time and money and have the peace of mind knowing that all your customer interactions are conveniently stored together.

As you develop or refine your marketing strategy, your CRM can be invaluable in providing information and insight for planning and tracking results. Know precisely which customers you are targeting and their latest activity. YGL Enterprises can help you make the most of your CRM and leverage this data to grow your business and drive profitability. Work with our skilled team on marketing strategies and solutions that fit your goals. Contact us today to get started and be on your way to CRM success.


Making Sense of Content Marketing: Developing a Strategy That Works

These days, everyone talks about content marketing; however, many businesses rush the process without careful planning. So, let’s begin with what content marketing is and why it’s an essential facet of your marketing strategy.

Let’s start with the definition.

content marketing (noun) – marketing that tries to attract customers by distributing informational content potentially useful to the target audience, rather than by advertising products and services in the traditional way: content marketing through blogs and email newsletters

Dictionary.com. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.dictionary.com/

More businesses than ever have embraced social media as the “go-to” marketing tactic, creating visuals and stories to share information and engage consumers. However, there is a lot of poorly written and irrelevant content floating around the internet. Done correctly, content marketing can be an effective way for businesses to expand their reach, increase brand awareness, drive leads, and position themselves as thought leaders.

The key to effective content marketing originates in the creation of a strategic plan. If you’re simply sharing information for the sake of sharing, hoping something will stick, you’re likely missing the mark. Yes, your content may reach a few customers or prospects, but not as many as anticipated.

With a well-defined strategy in place, you can focus your efforts to target those individuals or businesses that are truly important to your success. Here are a few ways to improve your approach.

Post with a Purpose

Instead of haphazardly posting any content that seems slightly interesting, review each piece, and then ask yourself, “Why does this matter?” to my target market. What benefit will it have for your customers or followers? What is your goal in sharing that information? Align content with your business goals and always be looking to educate or engage your customers. You may come across a great article, but if it doesn’t fit with your brand or doesn’t provide your audience with relevant information, you’re taking away from the positive momentum you’ve been striving to build.

#Know-your-AudienceKnow Your Audience

Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Concentrate your efforts on who your target audience is and what interests them the most. It’s not about you; it’s about them. Build loyalty. Whether you’re appealing to young professionals, car gurus, or savvy investors, use your customer personas to shape your strategy and messaging. Take the time to review website and social media analytics to see which previous posts have gained the most traction and engagement. Leverage customer feedback and social listening to find out what is top of mind. Then you can begin organizing your content calendar.

Plan in Advance

Rather than having multiple people writing blogs and sharing posts on whatever topics interest them, put an organized plan in place. Break down content topics by week or month and select a theme. But, be flexible enough to change your topic depending on current events. For example, the effect of COVID-19 has impacted how we all conduct business. A timely podcast on “How to stay in contact with your clients during uncertain times” is more relevant than “Event planning tips for your next social gathering.”

Sit down with your team and brainstorm a list of blog topics, assign writers, and determine deadlines. Identify reliable resources. Brainstorm keywords that your content will fit within. Having an organized calendar will make creating and sharing content easier, and it will help position your business as a thought leader in your respective industry.

Find the Right Medium

People respond differently to different mediums. Ask yourself, what is the best format for conveying the message? Is it through an article or blog, a podcast or audio clip, a video, or an infographic? Using different mediums will generate responses from different sectors of your readership. Change things up from time to time to keep your audience engaged and the content interesting. Pay attention to how your audience reacts to the different formats and track what generates the most activity.

#Make-use-of-SEOMake Use of SEO

Make sure your intended audience can find your content by incorporating keywords and phrases that align with common search terms. Using Google Analytics is an effective way of tracking keywords and guiding search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. Try adding popular hashtags and note the response. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new approaches until you find what works. And keep in mind – as industries evolve, so do trends and buzzwords, so stay abreast of what is happening in your target market.

Partnering with a marketing strategist can help your business get on the right track and improve your content marketing efforts. Stop wasting time with haphazardly designed marketing initiatives and zero in on what tactics align with your business’ goals, objectives, and audience. Start putting out content that matters and that your clients want to read. Contact YGL Enterprises today to learn more about how we can help. With our “focused strategy – marketing solutions realized” approach, we guide you in taking your business to the next level in a systematic way.


Pandemic Marketing 101: Marketing (and Adapting) in the Age of COVID-19

As I sit at my desk and reflect on how much the world has changed in such a short amount of time, I recall the lyrics of Bob Dylan’s classic song, “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” The song is a call to action that summed up the feelings of the anti-establishment generation of the 1960s. I think the lyrics are still relevant in today’s COVID-19 world.

What does this mean as it relates to marketing? Whether we like it or not, we are ALL adapting to a new world—one that is vastly different from just a few months ago. It’s a world where we are still figuring out how to conduct business meetings, promote products and services, and position ourselves as marketable professionals as many jobs disappear, and new ones emerge.

Are You Ready?

A few months ago, I wrote a blog about taking control of your personal brand. I believe this subject is more pertinent than ever as we push forward in the “New World of Business.”

We all have a personal brand. Just like a product, your personal brand is the world’s collective perception of who you are. It comes from all the information that is available on the Internet, whether you put it there intentionally or it stemmed from other sources. By taking control of your personal brand (brand management), you shape how others view your professional assets, i.e., your reputation. You are not leaving it to others to tell your story. Personal branding becomes even more essential as you try to set yourself apart from others and want to remain competitive in the job market, advocate for a promotion, or simply change the narrative.

Find Out Where You Stand

Start with a Google search. You will likely be surprised about what you find. Usually, the information is either inaccurate or incomplete. Then move on to your favorite social media platforms. Is this the brand that you want to project to potential employers, colleagues, and friends? It’s crucial that you not only know what people and professional websites are saying about you but also take charge of your narrative. You may also find that you don’t have much of an executive presence at all; therefore, you need to establish your brand. Or, you may find that you need to bolster certain areas to position yourself for advancement or change the story altogether so you can shift your career in a different direction.

Decide Upon and Chart Your Path Forward

As noted above, taking the time to research yourself, so you have a solid sense of how others perceive you in the marketplace, will provide you with the perspective to then proactively create your narrative. What is your story? What traits or accomplishments make you stand out? If you’re not sure how to differentiate yourself or what you should be emphasizing, it can be beneficial to work with a brand strategist. This professional can help you see the “big picture” by asking probing questions that get you thinking about how you view yourself, your professional goals, and how best to achieve those targets by clearly articulating your personal brand.

And Now…Execute

Now that you know where you want to go, you must put in the effort. This is where partnering with a brand strategist can pay off. A brand strategist can help you:

  • Identify and focus on your target market and audience
  • Access effective channels for promotional and marketing activities
  • Leverage social media to maximize your brand and increase awareness
  • Create on-target messaging to build or pivot your brand
  • Monitor performance to assess strengths and areas for improvement
  • Capitalize on opportunities to grow your professional network and expand your reach

It can be challenging to look objectively at your brand presence in our current environment and see what is working and what is not. That is why YGL Enterprises takes the guesswork out of building your brand by conducting detailed assessments and developing strategic plans to position you how you want to be seen—even in a time that is as uncertain as right now.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re an established CEO or an emerging leader trying to get a leg up; your brand has an impact and determines your competitive advantage. Stand out for the right reasons and position yourself for success by teaming up with YGL Enterprises for all your personal branding needs. Our “focused strategy – marketing solutions realized” approach is just what you need to get ahead in today’s tight market, so contact us to get started.


3 Common Marketing Mistakes that Could Be Hurting Your Business

In this new world of social-distancing and other preventive measures, the way we conduct business has been changed for the foreseeable future. No one knows what that means for the long-term, but, at the very least, companies need to take a deep breath and focus on how to adjust their marketing strategies.

Regardless of current events, having an effective marketing plan is vital to growing and retaining business. SMART goals should be the cornerstone of every marketing strategy. (A SMART goal is used to help guide goal setting; SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.) More on this topic later.

Today, we’re taking a closer look at three marketing mistakes that could be negatively impacting your business’ bottom line.

  1. Not having a solid marketing plan.

All businesses, regardless of size, should have a documented and organized strategic plan for their marketing initiatives. Unfortunately, many companies tend to put this task on the “back burner.” Even those who have a plan may not designate a primary point person or committee with authority to make marketing decisions. This inaction can lead to wasted and misguided efforts if too many people within the organization can make marketing decisions on a whim.

For example, if vendors can call on anyone within the company, and the company has not communicated a policy about who has the authority to vet marketing-related products, the results can be disastrous! The least of which is wasted time and resources.

You wouldn’t ask your production manager to handle your accounting, so don’t allow your sales staff to make your marketing decisions. Businesses need to thoughtfully determine who in the organization is best suited to make marketing-related decisions. This can be one person or by committee. Take the time to develop sound policies, and then communicate the information throughout the organization. Ensure that everyone is on the same page with how to achieve goals and objectives, including branding awareness, lead generation, customer satisfaction, and positive ROI.

  1. Being too impatient.

Today’s society expects immediate results. And “Why not?” Advances in technology have streamlined many activities, where with one click, we get results. This leads to unrealistic expectations, particularly related to marketing activities. As with any endeavor, marketing tactics take time to generate results. A business cannot expect to put a social media plan in place and then expect inquiries to pour in within a matter of days or weeks. Growing your audience and increasing awareness takes time and consistent evaluation, regardless of the product or service.

Therefore, have a plan in place (see point #1), know your target customer, measure results, and be patient. As noted earlier, using SMART goals will lead to greater success, but it’s a success that takes time. Realize that it may take six months or more to see the desired change in customer behavior. Engaging a consultant who can take a deep dive into your marketing strategy and help monitor trends to identify opportunities for improvement can keep you grounded throughout the marketing process.

  1. Jumping on the latest bandwagon.

Just because a specific marketing trend is popular right now does not necessarily mean that it is a good fit for your business. Podcasts and video marketing have been all the rage in recent months, but if your target customer does not use these platforms, you’re wasting money. For instance, businesses that are marketing to older adults need to be mindful of their awareness and comfort level in using newer technologies. On the other hand, if your audience is young business professionals who listen to podcasts on their commute to keep up with industry best practices, a podcast could be a worthwhile pursuit.

Just because you are sharing content, doesn’t mean your target customer is consuming the information. Invest in marketing platforms that your customers do connect with, and that will catch their attention. Do your research and then determine if the latest marketing fad is right for your business.

So, what can you do to avoid some of these common mistakes? Make it a point to get everyone on the same page when it comes to marketing plans and strategies. Have a solid plan in place first, and then you can figure out which tactics to use to implement it. If you do not see the results you expected, consider working with a consulting firm like YGL Enterprises to refocus and assess your current strategies. Optimize your resources and develop a focused approach to put the most effective marketing solutions in place. Contact us today to get started.


Start from Within: Selling Employees on Your Brand through Internal Marketing

Businesses spend an exorbitant amount of time and money, selling their products and services to customers. After all, this is what keeps the revenue flowing and drives business growth. But a critical aspect of marketing that many businesses overlook is marketing to their employees. Business owners should view their employees as the best and most-accessible advocates for the business’ products or services. As the primary ambassadors of the business, they must have a solid understanding of the organization’s mission, vision, values, and goals to project this in everything they do.

Why Internal Marketing Matters

When employees truly believe in the business, and what it is selling, they become more engaged, provide higher quality service, and are often more satisfied with their jobs. Plus, they become brand representatives and advocates of the business when speaking with others. Whether interacting with family, friends, clients, or people they have just met, they can proudly and confidently promote the business and what it stands for. They can talk about what makes the products or services so great, reliable, functional, convenient, or whatever the benefits may be – its unique value proposition.

Internal marketing also plays a key role in attracting and retaining top talent. Not only can HR departments enhance their recruitment efforts by advocating for why the business is a good place to work, but employees can do the same and drive referrals. They’re more likely to encourage others to work there if they enjoy it themselves.

Creating an Internal Marketing Program

Now that you understand why internal marketing is important, it’s time to develop an effective plan. Decide who will lead efforts in educating employees, creating materials, building a strong culture, and providing consistent communication. This is not a one-person or one-perspective job. Consider creating an internal marketing team that includes both employee leaders and management.

  • Gauge current knowledge. Find out what employees already know and think about the business. Develop a survey where they can rank their understanding of the organization’s mission and vision, its value proposition, and its products/services. Ask about whether they believe in the mission, if they use the business’ products/services, and if they would recommend the business to others. Asking questions on the front-end will provide the answers that focus your efforts in crafting materials and training.
  • Develop education and training opportunities. Invite employees to attend meetings and open forums to discuss what is happening within the business, as well as the future goals. Offer training sessions for new products or services where they can ask questions, provide feedback, and try out products themselves. Distribute a monthly newsletter with updates, statistics, opportunities, and fun facts.
  • Make information readily available. Have an internal webpage that employees can use as a resource when they want or need more information. Use videos and graphics to increase engagement and present content in a meaningful way. Post the latest updates on changes within the organization, the launch of new products/services, and how the business is performing against its goals.
  • Leverage social media. Make it easy for employees to share press releases, product information, new developments, and external marketing initiatives with their connections through the business’ approved channels or platforms. Keep the business’ social media pages updated and encourage employees to like and share content. However, ensure that there is a social media policy in place to protect the organization’s online reputation and set guidelines for employees’ online activity.
  • Keep going. Internal marketing is not something that is ‘once and done.’ It should be ongoing. Integrate messages into daily meetings, monthly trainings, and business communications. Building employee engagement and support is something businesses should always be striving to do. If efforts become stagnant, a lot of momentum can be lost.

Every single employee from the custodian to the administrative assistant to the CEO should know what the business’ brand stands for and be able to speak positively about it (and want to do so). Having a strong internal marketing plan is just as important as the external marketing plan.

Start creating a strategy that transforms employees into natural ambassadors and advocates for your business by partnering with YGL Enterprises today. You’ll receive guidance tailored to your organization, its goals, and its employees to help you be as successful as possible. With YGL Enterprises, you get a focused strategy that leads to realized marketing solutions.


Keeping a Pulse on the Client: The Importance of Surveys for Small Businesses

When you buy a product online or take your car to the dealership for service, almost immediately, an email or text pops up, asking you about your experience. Large businesses are always asking for feedback to gauge how they are doing and where there are opportunities for improvement. And yet, small businesses seldom follow suit. This is a missed opportunity that ultimately impacts long-term client satisfaction, as well as the company’s bottom line. Today, we explore why small businesses are hesitant to ask for feedback and how they can overcome their fear of the process.

Here are just a few common reasons why companies fail to survey their clients:

  • The client won’t respond, so why bother?
  • Fear of what clients may say, and uncertainty of how to respond.
  • Customer feedback programs are too expensive to implement.
  • Assumption that, because the company is small, it already knows what its clients think or need.

All the above are common myths. Every business should actively and regularly seek client feedback about its product or service. If businesses are not asking for feedback, they are missing out on major opportunities to:

  • Improve business operations.
  • Enhance customer loyalty.
  • Turn a negative experience into a positive outcome.
  • Remind customers to share their experiences on online reputation platforms.
  • Tweak product or service offerings to better align with their customer base.
  • Identify areas of opportunity to reach new customers or fill a gap in the market.

Online, Email, Paper or Face-to-Face

There are a multitude of resources that businesses can use to solicit feedback, such as:

  • Automated online surveys such as SurveyMonkey, Google Forms, or Polldaddy
  • Face-to-face surveys
  • Telephone surveys
  • Hard copy surveys with a personalized letter from senior management
  • Any combination of the above.

Businesses should carefully reflect on which option will likely generate the most participation and what is the overall goal. Are you surveying a multitude of clients about their general perceptions of the company, or is the survey targeted to a handful of “key” clients who represent a significant portion of the business’s revenue? Complex services such as legal or accounting will benefit from using face-to-face surveys or telephone surveys. Additionally, experience shows that clients are more likely to respond when going through a neutral, third-party source where they feel they can give honest responses, or if there is a small incentive included such as a discount on a future purchase.

Keep your expectations realistic – you’re unlikely ever to get 100% of clients to participate, but that’s okay; even a 10% response rate can provide valuable information.

Rather than asking vague, generic questions that have little value when it comes to measuring satisfaction or how to improve, focus on specific, targeted questions around key aspects of the business. For instance, break down experiences into important points, such as:

  • How easy it was to check out online
  • How quickly someone responded to inquiries or problems
  • How they found out about the business or what brought them there
  • What other services or products they are interested in
  • How likely they are to recommend the company/product/service to others

Have a plan in place for what information you want to collect and how you will respond.

*Remember to keep the survey short; six to eight questions are the right length for optimal client response.

Managing Feedback

A critical factor to keep in mind when implementing a voice of the customer program, however, is that the business must be committed to accepting and acting upon ALL feedback. Just because a business doesn’t like a response doesn’t mean it should be ignored or swept under the rug. Clients want to see that their opinions and concerns are being heard and acted upon. Ignoring negative feedback can result in the client airing the grievance online.

For example, if several people respond that the business is not responsive to returning phone calls or emails, be prepared to execute change quickly. This could mean implementing a policy of a 24- or 48-hour timeframe for replying – and sticking to it! Note the change on the company website, and other social media venues, so clients know that you listened to their concerns and care. Implementing positive changes can mean not only a greater financial return but also improved customer loyalty.

If a specific client has an issue, senior management should be ready to step in and personally address the problem promptly. This simple act by small businesses can go a long way in forging improved relationships because there is a personal connection and emphasis on doing what is right. It shows clients that they matter.

Implementing Client Satisfaction Surveys

Are you ready to take the next step? Implementing a plan for a client feedback program can be easier than you think. Working with a marketing professional such as YGL Enterprises can allow you to put in place a program that fits the unique needs of your business and generates the type of feedback you can use to drive continued success. Contact YGL Enterprises today to learn more and develop a focused strategy to realize marketing solutions.


YGL Enterprises’ 12 Days of Marketing Tips

‘Tis the season! As 2019 winds to a close and the countdown to holiday celebrations begins, your business needs to be ready to go once 2020 hits. We’re helping you get started by offering 12 tips to boost your marketing planning and preparation for the new year.

  1. Conduct a marketing audit.

If it’s been a while since your business took a deep dive into its marketing strategy and performance, the end of the year is great time to make plans to do so. Partner with a professional who will give honest, objective feedback about where there are opportunities for improvement, how various effective approaches are, and how to enhance marketing initiatives to drive greater return on investment.

  1. Review your budget.

How much money will you have in 2020 to put toward marketing, and how are you going to allocate these funds? Are there specific areas you want to invest in further such as creating video content or revamping your website? Did radio ads convert better than television ads? Evaluate the return on investment over the past year to help guide your focus for this year’s spending.

  1. Look at the data.

Leverage analytics tools such as Google Analytics to get down to the nitty-gritty of performance. You don’t want to continue pouring time and money into strategies that data shows are not generating a meaningful return. Look at website traffic and referral sources to understand where users are coming from, find out what keywords are top hits, and learn how customers are interacting with your site.

  1. Run a competitor analysis.

You know what your business is doing, but what about your competitors? Take a closer look at their campaign strategies and how they’re reaching customers. Are there certain emotional appeals they’re making? Aspects of the product or service they’re focused on? Promotional deals they’ve been running? Look at how they interact with customers across social media and what type of content they’re generating. This information can give your team valuable insight about your competitor’s strategies.

  1. Research the latest trends.

Trends change all the time, so figure out what’s gaining momentum for 2020. Some areas to look into are podcasting, video content, voice search, AI, automation, personalization, and the customer experience. If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll eventually get left behind as competitors tackle more innovative and cutting-edge approaches. Keep pace with how the industry is changing and what you need to do to stay ahead.

  1. Update buyer personas.

Take a critical look at who you are marketing to and what is important to them. Go back through your buyer personas and see where changes need to be made to better align with your target audience. Use data to add detail and guide insight as you decide where to focus your marketing efforts for the new year.

  1. Refine segmentation.

As you update your buyer personas, it’s also a good time to tweak segmentation. Your business can’t be everything to everyone, and not every group responds to the same tactics. While millennials and Gen Z may seem like the same, when you break down the facts about their buying habits, you discover that they’re actually quite different. For your marketing strategy to be most effective, understand the differences, and then tailor your marketing accordingly.

  1. Plan content.

Now is the time to plan your editorial calendar for the year. Highlight certain holidays or times of the year that you want to promote a specific product or service. Come up with overarching themes for content that carry through the month or quarter. This will help you continue generating content on a regular basis and give structure and cohesion to what you’re sharing.

  1. Set goals.

Step back and look at the upcoming year as a whole. Determine long-term goals that you want to achieve by this time next year. Do you want to expand your presence in a new market? Grow website traffic by a certain percentage? Once you have your main goals, you can break them down into smaller milestones to track your progress and keep momentum going.

  1. Collaborate.

Every person on your team has their specific strengths and ideas. Invite others to share what they see as the greatest opportunities and challenges that your business faces. Work together to figure out how to adjust your marketing strategy to address these issues. The first idea is not always the best one, so collaboration is key in finding the most effective and innovative strategies.

  1. Get everyone on board.

Share your marketing strategy with the whole business and educate others on the part they play in driving success. Every single person is an influencer, so how they promote themselves and the brand says something about the business. Give employees the knowledge, tools, and support necessary to promote an exceptional customer experience no matter where they fit into the process.

  1. Celebrate your successes.

The year is nearly over. Take the time to celebrate all of the business’ achievements, big and small. Reflect on positive customer feedback and reviews that shine a spotlight on everything that went right. Recognize employee accomplishments and the role they have played in growing the business and making it more successful.

Get 2020 started on the right foot and make the most of the next 12 months of marketing by partnering with YGL Enterprises for all of your strategic marketing and branding needs. Let us guide the way as you customize and refine your approach to optimize results. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and get started on building a focused strategy to realize marketing solutions.


Who You Are Matters: Humanizing Your Brand

No matter what you need, whether a product or service, you can find it. In fact, today’s consumer can choose from multiple options from multiple sources. Whether your favorite shopping destination is Amazon, eBay, or direct from a company’s website, your options may seem endless.

So what factors tip the scale towards the purchase of your product or service vs. your competitors? At the most basic level, it is the connection the consumer has with your brand. That means that businesses need to pay attention to the “Emotional Connection” if they want to garner loyalty and increase sales.  As humans, we make connections. Whether it is with one person or a company made up of many people, the Brand connection is what sets you apart.

Motista (www.motista.com), the pioneer of Predictive Emotional Connection Intelligence solutions, released a 2018 report that supports this idea of the importance of the Emotional Connection. The report states that “Emotional Connection is the most predictive driving force behind brand purchasing decisions and the long-term loyalty of consumers.”

So, how can you showcase your brand’s unique personality and connect with your audience?

Generic = Forgettable

Don’t be afraid to be unique.

If your brand tries to be everything to everyone, it will quickly get lost in the shuffle. A generic approach blends in with the crowd when what you want to do is stand out. Take a step back and figure out what makes your business different. Is it your commitment to service? How you make your product? Does the value you offer exceed the cost? Your process? As one young entrepreneur pointed out, “If I stopped providing services tomorrow, what would customers miss the most about what I offer?” That’s the key.

Find Your Audience

A BMW is not for everyone. They target a specific type of customer, one who expects premium quality, performance, and luxury. By strategically focusing on the desires of this niche population, BMW is a leader in the luxury automobile industry.

Take a lesson from BMW. Instead of stretching your business thin by trying to capture every possible customer, focus on finding the specific segment you want to target and build a solid relationship. Make sure your marketing strategy is on point and geared toward the lifestyle of your audience. If small business owners or the under-30 crowd aren’t your primary demographic, don’t spend your time and resources trying to appeal to them. Show customers that you are in touch with what matters most to them and foster genuine connections.

Be Authentic

Humanizing your brand is the backbone of a successful marketing strategy. No one likes automated, cut-and-paste replies. If you’re engaging with your audience on social media, be personable and authentic. According to a recent study, “86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience.” When you’re creating marketing strategies, mirror what is happening in the real world so that customers can relate and tie those messages back in with your brand. Give your brand value and meaning – show customers what you stand for.

Live Your Brand

You’ve likely heard the phrase, “Show, don’t tell,” and this timely adage applies to marketing and branding too. It’s not enough to tell people what your brand stands for; you have to live it and incorporate it into everything you do. You want to send a consistent message that spans all of your channels. Reinforce what you say through what you do so that customers see your mission and vision being carried out 24/7, not just when the pressure is on.

Be Confident

Don’t be afraid to buck the trend and be true to what your business represents. Customers want to see this dedication. You may lose a few customers here and there, but staying true to your core beliefs will attract a more loyal following. Take the time to develop a clear vision and strategy for your brand, but make sure it is true and authentic. Ask yourself, “Would you want to do business with your organization?”

If you’re struggling to put a human touch on your business and make personal connections, YGL Enterprises can help. We’ll work with you to find your brand voice and build a marketing strategy that meets your needs and those of your customers.  We offer focused strategy, so your marketing solutions are realized. Contact us today to learn more.


Team meeting

A Complete Checklist for Rebranding Your Business

Just like the person who realizes that their look has long since gone out of style, businesses can find themselves in need of a brand refresh. Reasons for a rebranding may be simple or complicated, but getting it “right” is essential. Planning is critical to avoid common rebranding mistakes that can sabotage your efforts. If rebranding is the right move for your business and your logo looks dated, taglines are no longer relevant, or bad publicity is forcing a change, use this checklist as a reminder that your logo, company name, and tagline may appear in dozens of locations, online and in print.

Website

  • Send your updated brand (logo, tagline) to other websites; e.g., vendors who link to your site.
  • Post a press release on your new website explaining why your business has rebranded. Tell your story. Make it relevant. Keep it simple.
  • Add a redirect link on your old website to the new URL once it is “live.”

Directories

  • Update your listings in any applicable online directories, including any location data management tools such as Yext.
  • Update your profile on online crowd review forums such as Yelp and Trip Advisor.
  • Don’t forget about industry-specific directories. Many professional service businesses, (e.g., legal, accounting, and financial services) have online review forums. Check to see if your business is listed, and find out how to update your information.

Social Media

  • Each social media platform has specific policies. Check with each on how to update your business page or feed. In some cases, you will need to create a new page.
  • Encourage employees to post information about the new brand on their own social media pages. Examples include LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
  • Review your company’s social media guidelines with all employees before the brand/rebrand rollout.

Signage

  • Replace interior and exterior signage including on company vehicles and uniforms, and in buildings, lobbies, and boardrooms.

Business Stationery and Forms

  • Letterhead, envelopes, labels and cover sheets
  • Electronic templates
  • Business cards
  • Invoices, statements, checks and other banking forms
  • Company policy statements and employee handbooks
  • Name badges
  • PowerPoint templates
  • Presentation folders

Promotion

  • Local press and trade publications – press releases
  • Tradeshow booths
  • Giveaways
  • Banners

Communications

  • Telephone greeting and messages – general mailbox and individual voicemail greetings
  • Outgoing caller ID
  • Email signatures

Advertising and Media

  • Print and digital ads
  • Fact/spec sheets
  • Brochures
  • Newsletters
  • Annual report
  • TV/radio spots
  • Videos
  • Blogs

Employees

  • Employees play a crucial role in communicating a company’s brand. Make sure that everyone understands the purpose of the rebranding initiative before it goes “live.”
  • Hold an internal launch party to share the purpose and goals of the branding initiative.
  • Train all employees about what the brand represents and how each person helps deliver the “brand promise.”

Existing Clients

  • Pre-launch: Send an email to your customers ahead of the launch to let them know about the upcoming rebranding. Reinforce that the change will be a positive one and that your company will continue to provide the same great service to its customers.
  • Launch: Send a letter to customers announcing the brand launch, signed by the CEO or president. Explain the reason for the change and reaffirm the company’s pledge to its customers.
  • Post-launch: Encourage all employees to talk about the new brand with their customer contacts.
  • Hand out new business cards to existing clients and in subsequent meetings.

Don’t be discouraged if you forget to check off one of the above tasks. Remember, proactive planning and laser-focused execution are critical steps in achieving a successful rebranding launch. Don’t rush. Consistent communication throughout your organization is key. Your employees are your best promotors and caretakers of a company’s brand. Once the initial launch is complete, encourage your employees to be on the lookout for other forms, marketing materials, and social media where your old brand is displayed, so you can update the item(s) as soon as possible.

If you’re considering a rebrand for your business, partner with the professionals at YGL Enterprises to ensure your strategy is well thought out, and you’re creating a positive change that will resonate with customers and support your brand for years to come. Contact us today to get started!