Food, Hospitality, Weddings and Events Articles
By Chef Debby
One of my favorite holiday cookies, these bars have a tangy cranberry filling that keeps the ultra-rich crust and streusel topping in check.Yields about thirty-five 1-3/4-inch-square bars.
For the crust and streusel:
10-1/2 oz. (1 cup plus 5 Tbs.) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to just warm
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 tsp. table salt
2 large egg yolks
14-1/4 oz. (3 cups plus 3 Tbs.) unbleached all-purpose flour
Tip: For the best results, measure your flour by weight instead of volume. (1 cup of all-purpose flour equals 4-1/2 oz.) If you don’t have a scale, be sure to use the proper technique when filling your measuring cups.
For the cranberry topping:
12-oz. bag fresh or frozen cranberries, picked over, rinsed, and drained
1 cup granulated sugar
Make the crust:
Line a straight-sided 13x9-inch metal baking pan with foil, letting the ends create an overhanging edge for easy removal. In a medium bowl, stir together the butter, 3/4 cup of the sugar, and the salt. Whisk in the egg yolks. Stir in the flour to make a stiff dough. Transfer about 2 cups of the dough to the prepared pan, and press the mixture evenly into the bottom. Prick the dough all over with a fork. Refrigerate the pan for 30 minutes (or freeze for 5 to 7 minutes), until the dough is firm.
Meanwhile, position a rack near the center of the oven and another near the top. Heat the oven to 325°F.
Bake the dough until the crust begins to set but does not brown at all on the edges (the center will not be firm yet), about 20 minutes. While the crust bakes, prepare the streusel and the topping.
Make the streusel:
With your fingers, combine the remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar with the reserved dough until crumbly. The mixture should hold together when pressed, but readily break into smaller pieces.
Make the cranberry topping:
In a medium saucepan, bring the cranberries, sugar, and 1/4 cup water to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium high and continue to boil until the liquid is reduced to a thick syrup, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool 5 to 10 minutes—the syrup will continue to thicken as the mixture cools.
Spread the cranberry mixture evenly over the hot crust. Scatter the streusel over the cranberries (don’t crumble the streusel too much or the texture will be sandy). Increase the oven temperature to 350°F and bake the bars near the top of the oven until the streusel is golden and set, about 25 minutes. (Baking these bars at the top of the oven helps the streusel brown faster without overbrowning the crust.)
Place the pan on a metal rack to cool until the crust is completely firm, at least 1 hour. (For faster cooling, put the bars in the fridge once the pan is no longer piping hot, or even outside in winter.)
When the bottom of the pan is cool, carefully lift the bars from the pan using the foil sides and transfer them to a cutting board. Separate the foil from the bars by sliding a spatula between them. Cut the bars into 1-3/4-inch squares.
Make Ahead Tips
The bars will keep at room temperature for one week.
nutrition information (per serving):
Size: per bar; Calories (kcal): 150; Fat (g): 7; Fat Calories (kcal): 60; Saturated Fat (g): 4.5; Protein (g): 1; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 2; Carbohydrates (g): 21; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0; Sodium (mg): 50; Cholesterol (mg): 30; Fiber (g): 1;
Media, Advertising, Branding & Marketing Articles
If you build a Facebook Page, will fans come? This is the great hope for many businesses. However, fans do not magically appear from the Facebook mist.
People must be lured to your fan page. And there are some good and bad ways to go about doing this. In this article, I’ll share a big myth and 21 ways to drive more fans to your Facebook fan page. (Though Facebook recently changed the “Become A Fan” button to the new, omnipresent “Like” button – and a fan page is called a “Business Page” or “Facebook Page” – we can still call them fan pages and people who join are fans!)
The Big Myth
There’s a great myth that once you create a Facebook fan page for your business, the first thing you should do to get fans is invite ALL your friends from your personal profile using the “Suggest to Friends” feature.
Unfortunately, this strategy may not be that effective and can, in fact, often backfire. I have seen many industry gurus complain that when they decline a fan page request, it’s frustrating to continue to be asked again and again.
There are several reasons not to use the Suggest to Friends feature:
- Facebook users can only like up to 500 pages and may wish to be selective. (Though I have seen it’s possible to go over this limit).
- Fan page suggestions may often build up, unnoticed. (At last count, I have 593 overlooked fan page suggestions and am already a fan of 500!)
- To aggressively pursue all your friends to join your fan page – for no apparent incentive – is counterintuitive to the nature of social media.
So, the good news is there are many ways to promote your fan page and proactively increase your fan base without bugging all your current Facebook friends, and also by thinking wider than just Facebook.
Here are 21 ways to get more fans for your Facebook fan page:
#1: Embed Widgets on Your Website
Select from a number of the new Facebook Social Plugins and place them on your website and blog. The Fan Box widget is now the Like Box and it works well to display your current fan page stream and a selection of fans - see screenshot below with Whole Foods Market Facebook Like Box. I would recommend adding a title above the box encouraging visitors to your site/blog to click the “Like” button (which makes them a Facebook fan).
Whole Foods Market Facebook Like Box.
You might also consider the Live Stream widget for more advanced uses, particularly on an FBML custom tab of your fan page itself. The Live Stream widget allows Facebook users to add their comments to a live event, for example, and that activity pushes out into their stream.
#2: Invite Your Email and Ezine Subscribers
Assuming you have an opt-in email list, definitely send out an invitation to your subscribers via email (several times, over time) letting them know about your fan page and encouraging them to join. Ideally, provide them with a description of the page and an incentive to join.
Be sure to have the Facebook logo/badge appear in your HTML newsletters. Instead of the usual “Join our Fan Page,” say something creative like “Write on our Facebook wall,” or “Join our Facebook community,” or “Come add your photo to our Facebook group” (where “group” is actually your fan page). Users have to be a fan in order to interact with your fan page in this way.
#3: Add to Your Email Signature Block
Instead of promoting your Facebook personal profile (if you do), include a link to your fan page in every email you send out. If you use web-based email, check out the Wisestamp signature addon.
#4: Make a Compelling Welcome Video
Create an attractive landing tab (canvas page) with a video that explains exactly a) what your fan page is about, b) who it’s for and c) why they should become members. The result: you’ll increase your conversion rate from visitors to fans. One of my favorite fan page welcome videos is by Steve Spangler, the Science Guy! After watching his video, you can’t help but want to join!
(By the way, with the new Facebook changes, if your custom welcome tab and video talk about clicking the “Become A Fan” button, you may want to change the wording to “click the Like button” now).
#5: Use Facebook Apps
I recently tested a new live video-streaming app called Vpype. The app adds a tab to your fan page called “Shows” and when you broadcast as your fan page, everyone can view by default. (You can also broadcast as your personal profile and selectively invite friends/friend lists). I wrote up a review of this app here. By announcing via Twitter, your personal Facebook profile, your blog and your email list, you can broadcast regular live Internet TV shows from your fan page and create much buzz.
Another example of app integration is Target’s “Bullseye Gives” campaign. Target had their fans vote on which of ten charities they most wanted to see the company donate to. By voting, a post goes out onto your Facebook wall and into the News Feeds of all your friends, thus providing Target with valuable exposure. (For custom apps, see companies like Buddy Media, FanAppz, Wildfire Apps, Involver, Virtue, Context Optional.) [UPDATE: Thank you to Context Optional, the creators of Target’s “Bullseye Gives” campaign!]
#6: Integrate the Facebook Comment Feature
My favorite example of this is the t-shirt company Threadless. On their landing tab (canvas page), you can view and purchase t-shirts as well as Like and comment on any item and choose to have that comment posted to your Facebook profile, as shown in this screenshot:
(Screenshot of Threadless Facebook Fan Page landing tab)
Threadless actually has their landing tab set up so visitors don’t have to become a fan to purchase/comment/interact. Yet they have organically built well over 100,000 fans.
As users comment on items, that activity is pushed out into their stream (profile wall and their friends’ News Feeds), which creates valuable viral visibility for your fan page.
For further information on adding the comment box to your FBML page/app, see these pages.
#7: Get Fans to Tag Photos
If you host live events, be sure to take plenty of photos (or even hire a professional photographer), load the photos to your fan page and encourage fans to tag themselves. This, again, pushes out into their wall and friends’ News Feeds, providing valuable (free!) exposure. And, a picture says a thousand words – we notice the thumbnails in our feed more than text. (Props to Nick O’Neil for this tip.)
#8: Load Videos and Embed on Your Site
Facebook’s Video feature is extremely powerful. You can load video content to your Facebook fan page, then take the source code and embed on your blog/website. There is a “Become a Fan” button right in the video itself. For an excellent tutorial, see Nick O’Neil’s post: How To Get Thousands of Facebook Fans With a Single Video.
[UPDATE: Since Facebook changed the Become a Fan button to the Like button, embedded Facebook videos now display a white watermark hotlink of the Facebook name in the upper left corner of the video player - see first screenshot below. This is a clickable link that goes to the original video page on your fan page. If the visitor to your site clicks through to Facebook from your video, and they are logged into Facebook at the time, they will see a Like button at the top left corner of the video player - see second screenshot below.]
(Screenshot shows example of an embedded Facebook video on an external site)
(Screenshot shows the same video on the original page of the fan page with the Like button)
#9: Place Facebook Ads
Even with a nominal weekly/monthly budget, you should be able to boost your fan count using Facebook’s own social ad feature. It’s the most targeted traffic your money can buy. To buy an ad, scroll to the foot of any page inside Facebook and click the link at the very bottom that says “Advertising.” From there, you can walk through the wizard and get an excellent sense of how many Facebook users are in your exact target market.
Then, when you advertise your fan page, Facebook users can become a fan (click the Like button) right from the ad as shown in the screenshot below. Additionally, Facebook displays several of your friends who have already liked you, thus creating social proof.
My book with Chris Treadaway, Facebook Marketing: An Hour a Day (Sybex) contains comprehensive instructions on maximizing your marketing through Facebook social ads.
#10: Run a Contest
This is somewhat of a gray area because Facebook changed their Promotional Guidelines last year. Essentially, you need prior written permission from Facebook and need to be spending a significant amount on ads per month. However, you CAN require Facebook users to become a fan of your fan page in order to enter a contest, sweepstakes, drawing or competition. See these two posts for further explanation. PLUS, good news: you CAN run contests and sweepstakes with the use of the apps created by Wildfire App.
#11: Link to Twitter
Link your Twitter account to your Facebook fan page and automatically post your Facebook content to Twitter. You can edit what gets posted, choosing from Status Updates, Photos, Links, Notes and Events.
You have 420 characters on the Facebook publisher and 140 on Twitter. In the tweet that goes out, Facebook truncates your post past a certain character count and inserts a bit.ly link back to your fan page. To track click-through stats on that link, just paste the bit.ly link that Facebook created for you in your browser’s address bar and add a “+” sign to the end. This works for any bit.ly link!
I also recommend you promote your Facebook fan page on your Twitter background and possibly in your Twitter bio/URL field too.
#12: Get Fans to Join Via SMS
Your fans can join your fan page via text message! You’ll need to get your first 25 fans and secure your username. Then, to join your fan page, Facebook users just send a text message to 32665 (FBOOK) with the words “fan yourusername” OR “like yourusername” (without the quotes).
This feature is ideal when you’re addressing a live audience, say. Have everyone pull out their mobile phones and join your fan page on the spot! This would also work well for radio or TV. (Note that this only works for Facebook users with a verified mobile device in his or her account.)
#13: Use Print Media
Look at every piece of print media you use in your business. Your Facebook fan page (as well as Twitter and any other social sites you’re active on), should be clearly displayed. Put your Facebook fan page link (and the logo) on your business cards, letterhead, brochure, print newsletter, magazine ads, products, etc.
#14: Display at Your Store/Business
If your business is run from physical premises, put a placard on the front desk letting your customers know you’re on Facebook. Ideally, you have a simple, memorable username. Incentivize customers to join right away via their mobile device and show you/your staff the confirmation for some kind of instant reward!
You might give out physical coupons promoting your fan page. For restaurants, put the Facebook logo, your username and a call to action on your menus.
I was at a hotel in San Francisco last fall and they had a placard in the elevators promoting their presence on Facebook and Twitter. The sign was very noticeable because of those ubiquitous Facebook and Twitter logos/colors!
#15. Add a Link on Your Personal Profile
If you’d like to promote your fan page to your Facebook friends, just under your photo on your personal profile there is a section to write something about yourself. I call this the “mini bio” field and strongly suggest adding a link to your fan page like so:
Be sure to format the URL with http:// otherwise it will not be clickable with just the www’s. You have a limited amount of characters, so keep it succinct and leave out the www’s. You can put in hard line breaks though to make the content easier to read.
#16: Add a Badge/Button to Your Profile
Using an app like Profile HTML or Extended Info, you can create your own custom HTML, including a Facebook badge and/or graphic embedded, as shown in the screenshot below:
#17: Use the Share Button
The Share button is all over Facebook and is a very handy feature. It only works for sharing on your personal profile. So periodically go to your fan page, scroll toward the bottom left column and click the “Share+” button. Add a compelling comment along the lines of exciting news, recent changes, special incentives, etc., happening on your fan page and invite your friends to join if they haven’t already. I find the Share button far more effective than the Suggest to Friends approach. (And, if you’d like to Share content from the web on to your fan page vs. profile, I highly recommend using the Hootlet bookmarklet tool at HootSuite.com).
#18: Use the @ Tag
As long as you’re a fan of your own fan page, you can “@ tag” it on your own personal profile wall. From time to time, you can let your friends know about something happening on your fan page by writing a personal status update that includes tagging your fan page with an @ tag. Simply start typing the “@” symbol and the first few letters of your fan page name (this works whether you have your username registered or not), and it will appear from a drop-down menu to select. This then makes it a nice, subtle hyperlink that your friends can choose to click on.
#19: Autograph Posts on Other Walls
A subtle way to gain more visibility for your fan page is to add an @ tag for your fan page when writing on your friends’ walls as a way to sign off.
I would use this one sparingly and, again, monitor the response from your friends. I have never been a fan of adding a signature block on Facebook wall posts because our name and profile picture thumbnail are always hyperlinked right back to our profile anyway. But the simple @ tag could be effective.
#20: Autograph Other Fan Pages
As with adding your fan page @ tag to posts you make on your friends’ walls, you could equally use the same technique when posting on other fan pages. This needs to be used with discretion and I would advise against doing this on any potentially competing fan page!
#21: Maybe Use “Suggest To Friends”
I won’t rule this one out completely as it does depend on how many friends you have, your relationship with your friends, how often you suggest fan pages/friends to your friends, etc (see ‘The Big Myth’ above). But I do recommend monitoring the response to this technique – perhaps simply by asking for feedback in your status update.
So, these are just 21 ways to create strategic visibility and promote your Facebook fan page.
Let’s hear from you. Which ones have you implemented with success? Plus, do feel free to add any of your own creative promotional ideas in the comments box below!
Mari Smith is a widely-recognized social media speaker and trainer and is coauthor of “Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day.” Fast Company calls Mari “the Pied Piper of the Online World.” Follow Mari on Twitter: @marismith. Other posts by Mari Smith »
Beauty & Fitness Articles
Originally published in Medical News Today.
Pilates and yoga, often referred to as "mind-body" activities, show promising benefits which include increased flexibility, improved quality of life, relief of the symptoms of menopause, and some reduction of lower back pain. The findings came from two studies presented today at the 52nd American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) annual Meeting in Nashville, Tenn.
One study looked at the effects of yoga on quality of life and flexibility in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women. Researchers at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey in Pomona studied six women, ages 44 to 62, who participated in a one-hour-long yoga class twice a week for eight weeks. Participants were also given a home exercise program, and instructed to practice on the days when they were not in class. The yoga program used in the study was lyengar, which focuses on a specific sequence of poses that address menstrual disorders, menopause and pregnancy.
"Five of the six women who participated in the yoga program had an increase in low back flexibility, and five out of six had reduced menopause symptoms," said M. Alysia Mastrangelo, Ph.D., PT, lead author of the study. "Those who experienced menopause relief had a decrease in hot flashes and night sweats."
Mastrangelo points out that a benefit of increased flexibility is that this often helps reduce lower back pain. In addition, more flexibility can one to more easily perform activities of daily living such as housekeeping, gardening and shopping.
The study that looked at benefits of Pilates-based mat exercises involved 22 people over a 12-week period. All participants had experienced some lower back pain. Fifteen participated in an hour-long Pilates-based mat exercise program, while the other seven continued their normal daily activities but did not participate in Pilates. At the end of the study, both groups had a decrease in lower back pain, but those who participated in the Pilates program had a greater reduction in pain.
"We also saw that the lower back pain was significantly decreased in certain areas of the lower spine," said lead researcher, Susan Graves, Ed.D. "The study really raised a number of questions, and we would like to study Pilates exercise further, with larger groups, and be able to look at how different age groups do with this type of exercise as a method to control back pain. We know that many exercises are effective in helping reduce lower back pain, when done in a controlled setting. Clearly we need to understand more about why, and if there are particular techniques that provide greater benefits."
ACSM's 52nd Annual Meeting is going on now at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center. For more information on the event, or to speak with ACSM Communications and Public Information staff, please call (615) 458-0996.
The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 20,000 international, national, and regional members are dedicated to promoting and integrating scientific research, education, and practical applications of sports medicine and exercise science to maintain and enhance physical performance, fitness, health, and quality of life.
Looking to get in shape? If you are in Camarillo, visit Leslie Brangham's studio, Just Breathe Pilates, in Westlake Village, visit Karen Harrold's Skin and Wellness Center in the Watercourt, for a dance workout visit Esta McIntyre's My Health Studio, Oakpark, visit Anne Brohms Timefighter Fitness and in the San Fernando Valley, contact, Michele the Trainer
Media, Advertising, Branding & Marketing Articles
Is your social media program fully integrated with your traditional marketing program, or are you just bolting on “Follow me on Twitter/Facebook” to your ads and fooling yourself?
The Integration Question
If you’re running a truly integrated program, congrats. You’re among the elite. Like the Marines, you’re part of the few, the proud, the enlightened.
But for everyone else, the question that constantly floats around boardrooms, ballrooms and conference panels is “How do I integrate all of this new social media with my traditional advertising and public relations campaigns?” Yes, social media is growing up, and in 2010, marketers don’t just want to know how to use Twitter and Facebook, marketers want to know how to integrate Twitter and Facebook into their advertising, direct marketing and public relations campaigns.
I think the problem is that most people are asking the wrong question. When you ask someone to tell you how to do something, you’re asking for a process that you can replicate. But that is just one process. Sure, it worked for them (and maybe you) this time, but is it truly replicable? Will it work tomorrow or the day after that?
Consumers are a lot like bacteria. Just as bacteria can evolve and eventually grow resistant to antibiotics, so too can consumers grow resistant to current forms of marketing, including social media marketing.
So instead of asking how to integrate all of it, maybe a better question would be to ask “how to think” about integrating social media, digital media, old media and the blending of all of it. We need to be asking for a framework, not a solution.
If someone gives you a framework for thinking, they’ve empowered you to think for yourself. If they give you a process to replicate, well, they’ve just made you reliant on them to give you a new process when the old one finally fails to be effective (because those pesky consumers, like bacteria, will grow immune).
A Social Media Framework
So what does a framework for looking at the integration of social media and traditional media look like? Let’s start with the base.
The Achilles heel of advertising is truth. A 2007 Nielsen Report showed only 55% of Americans trust advertising.
That same report found that overall, consumers trust other consumers above all else. 78% of respondents said they trusted – either completely or somewhat – the recommendation of other consumers. This is social media’s strength.
However, social media’s Achilles heel is scale. Because exposure comes one person at a time, except for the rare meme, it can take weeks, months, even years to scale an effective social media program.
Thus, a good starting point for a framework for considering how you should integrate social media with traditional media might be to think in terms of yin and yang. Social media and advertising are not mutually exclusive. In fact, it’s probably best if all marketers move away from replacement thinking, and focus instead on complementary thinking.
Under the complementary model, we look for ways that social media can leverage advertising and vice versa in order create a more impactful and effective integrated campaign. Let advertising offset social media’s scale issue and allow social media to bring believability back to an advertising campaign.
Pepsi Refresh Project home page.
A number of marketers are already experimenting with this approach. From announcements like Pepsi’s decision to forgo Super Bowl commercials in favor of its Refresh Project to smaller efforts like Tabasco’s decision to support a social media experiment to try to change the Mardi Gras brand from crazy/tawdry to more family-friendly. These marketers are using advertising or public relations efforts to drive consumers to online destinations where conversations are built to deliver long-term brand results.
Advertising Age breaks the news of Tabasco’s unique Mardi Gras partnership.
The Social Media/Advertising Integrated Planning Framework
I noted earlier that we need a framework for planning truly integrated campaigns. Over the years, I’ve developed a simple 6-question integrated marketing development framework that helps me get started. Today, I’m sharing it with you as a starting point for the development of your planning framework.
#1: What is the goal?
You’d think this is an obvious one… but you’d be surprised how often people skip this step. Another tip: start with the business goal, not the communications goal.
#2: Who is the audience?
Give yourself some depth here. Go beyond demographics and ask yourself what do they look like, sound like and whom do they hang out with when they’re using your product?
#3: Where is the audience?
This an obvious question, especially when you consider social networking platforms. But go beyond the obvious to the not-so-obvious, as in where they are in their lives. It will add a lot of depth to your analysis.
#4: How can I connect with my audience?
Don’t just define this in terms of channels. Ask yourself – from a creative, offer or conversation perspective – how can you best connect with your audience?
#5: How do I extend the conversation?
This is where that yin and yang thing really comes into play. Once you’ve made that initial contact and gained permission to have an ongoing conversation, what do you plan to do next?
#6: How can I get my audience to introduce me to others?
When was the last time you saw this section in a marketing plan overview? Don’t let that be a reason to leave it out of your plan. If you’re going to do something truly integrated, you have to think beyond the conversation to the recommendation. Recommendation is where the real money lies, so think about how you can get your customer to give you one.
The Value of Integrated Thinking
Which do you think would be more effective today – simply pushing the same message in all channels or customizing the role of each channel (and the message) to fully leverage the power and limit the weakness of each channel? And if the answer is obvious to you, why do you think more companies and brands aren’t doing it?
Media, Advertising, Branding & Marketing Articles
Originally published on Squidoo.comby Launch Marketing
Five Key Components
Successful marketing starts with a successful marketing plan. By developing and following a marketing plan that integrates all of a company's marketing efforts, many companies increase revenue by 15-20% compared to when they execute marketing campaigns in a more ad hoc fashion.
An integrated marketing plan outlines the marketing activities that will deliver the greatest impact on the target audience and produce the maximum return on the marketing investment. An integrated plan blends research, marketing and communication strategies together to ensure that every aspect of marketing your business is executed in a cohesive fashion. This article outlines five key components to defining and driving a successful integrated marketing plan.
Contents at a Glance
- 1. Define Your Destination.
- 2. Analyze the Map.
- 3. Chart the Course.
- 4. Drive Your Message.
- 5. Track Your Mileage.
- Pave the Road, Then Drive.
Contents at a Glance
- 1. Define Your Destination.
- 2. Analyze the Map.
- 3. Chart the Course.
- 4. Drive Your Message.
- 5. Track Your Mileage.
- Pave the Road, Then Drive.
- The latest from Google about this
- Reader Feedback
1. Define Your Destination.
You must first identify where you want to go before you can strategize on how to get there.
All good plans need a clear vision. Take the time to focus on both long-term and short term goals. Identify key business drivers and defining elements to your company's success. Think about ways that your marketing efforts can aid critical corporate growth. Think big picture.
2. Analyze the Map.
Know your target and know how to get there.
Marketing is about getting as close to the target audience as possible, truly understanding their needs and providing a product or service that meets those needs. A successful marketing plan is based on knowing how to reach and communicate with your target. Arm yourself with knowledge. Think about tactics you have used in the past, what worked and what didn't. Brainstorm new and innovative ways to reach your destination. The world of marketing is constantly evolving. Stay on top of trends. Take advantage of available resources, reach out to experts. Understand your target and identify ways that you can reach out to them. Make sure that you are headed in the right direction.
3. Chart the Course.
What is the best path to get from point A to point B?
Now that you have set your goals and know your target, it is time to get started on your integrated marketing plan. When building your plan, you will first need to determine the vehicle(s) used to deliver the product or service to customers including direct sales, online sales or selling through a sales channel. Next, you will need to identify and select the methods used for getting the word out about the products or services, such as advertising, PR, online marketing, telemarketing, direct mail, events and more. The key to building an integrated plan is finding the right mix of marketing activities to most efficiently reach your target and deliver your message.
4. Drive Your Message.
Drive until you have successfully reached your target.
Each marketing campaign should be highly distinguishable and should be implemented similarly across all mediums alike. It is key that your campaign resonates with your target, and there is no better way to aid this than to have a consistent message and brand. This is important because if a prospective customer receives the same message and visual clues in multiple places, they are much more likely to comprehend and retain the marketing message. This practice is critical to building brand awareness and ensuring that your product or service remains top of mind with your target.
5. Track Your Mileage.
Are we there yet?
Once executed, continually tracking and measuring the success of campaigns within an integrated marketing plan is a critical step that will help to plan future programs with more accuracy. The more quantifiable the objectives are in the beginning, the more tangible the results.
It is very important to keep the momentum of the marketing plan going by:
- Continually monitoring your plan so you can make needed adjustments
- Gathering data along the way to help predict the performance success
- Revisiting your objectives and strategy at the end to determine what went well, what you would do differently next time, etc.
Pave the Road, Then Drive.
Generating an integrated marketing plan is a key driver for successful marketing. To ensure that you get the most return on your marketing dollars, you must be prepared to do your homework first. With careful planning and evaluation, companies can maximize the effectiveness of their marketing programs.
Don't jump into ad hoc marketing activities that have not been mapped back to your big picture corporate goals. Map out your destination, pave the road and then drive your marketing success.
Media, Advertising, Branding & Marketing Articles
In a move that could bring millions of local and small business advertisers to the social network, Facebook launched a deal service for Places today. The service lets merchants push deals to their existing customers and attract new ones, according to Tim Kendall, Facebook’s director of monetization.
When users open up Facebook Places, they will see a listing of nearby venues, some which will have special icons indicating deals. They can pull up the deal, and with two clicks, they can claim it. When they go to the store or restaurant later, they can show the staff their Facebook app to redeem the deal.
The most interesting part of the product is that Facebook isn’t taking a cut of revenue for these discounts, posing a challenge to smaller competitors that use deal revenue as part of their business model. On a business’ Places page, they can set up an offer. There are four kinds:
- Individual deals, which reward a customer if they check-in once.
- Loyalty deals, which reward customers for a certain number of purchases or check-ins.
- Friend deals, which reward customers if they bring in extra friends.
- Charity deals, which allow businesses to donate to charity for every check-in they attract.
Facebook attracted more than 20 initial partners to launches the deal service. Gap is one of the first; the clothing company is giving away pairs of blue jeans to the first 10,000 customers who check-in.
Another partner is North Face, which will give $1 to support National Parks for every customer who checks-in. The Palms Hotel will be giving away a free third hotel night for people who stay two nights. The Golden State Warriors basketball team will let fans who check-in during November go to an exclusive event after the game with a player.
Facebook is opening up deals to 20,000 businesses initially and then will make it available to everyone over the next few months. The new deals service puts Facebook in even further competition with predecessors like Foursquare and Gowalla, which have offered similar coupons for months.
It also makes Facebook a potential rival to another big social deals company, Groupon, which is backed by the same venture investor Accel. Groupon offers a select number of deals a day in specific cities and it is reportedly working on a self-serve model, which will let store owners create their own deals.
Founder Mark Zuckerberg said Places deals are free now, which could undercut Groupon. But he said the company could consider making money from it in the future if it’s in the interest of the user community.
#1: Buy local to support yourself
Studies show that when you buy from a locally owned business, rather than a nationally owned business, significantly more of your money is recycled into the community throug purchases from other local businesses, service providers and farms strengthening the economic base of the community.
#2: Keep our community unique
Local businesses showcase the unique personality of our community. One-of-a-kind businesses are an integral part of the distinctive character of our town.
#3: Be friendly to our environment
Locally owned businesses cut down on the impact of transporting goods. Shopping locally helps the environment as well as your pocketbook.
#4: Local businesses create more jobs
Small local businesses are the largest employer nationally. Small businesses will be the engine to turn our economy around.
#5: Get better service
Local businesses are often more motivated to keep you coming back. Employers often have a closer connection with their employees, than a corporate HR department. These “team players” are interested in ensuring your experience is a good one.
#6: Put your taxes to good use
Small businesses require relatively little infrastructure investment and make more efficient use of public services, compared to nationally owned stores.
#7: Invest in the community
Local businesses are owned by people who live in this community, who are more invested in the community’s future.
#8: Support community groups
Non-profit organizations receive an average 250% more support from smaller business owners than they do from large businesses.
#9: Competition leads to more choices
A marketplace of tens of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term. A multitude of small businesses, each selecting products based not on a national sales plan but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers, guarantees a much broader range of product choices.
#10: Encourage future investment
A growing body of economic research shows that in an increasingly homogenized world, entrepreneurs and skilled workers are more likely to invest and settle in communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character.
Why Locally Owned?
Locally owned businesses help the local economy. Chain stores don’t. A study done in Chicago found:
- For every $100 in consumer spending with a local firm, $68 remained in the Chicago economy vs. $43 for spending at a chain store.
- For every square foot occupied by a local firm, local economic impact was $179 vs. $105 for a chain store.
Locally-owned business owners are our friends and neighbors. They have the same stake in the health and success of the community as we do. They participate in the community, giving far more generously than chain stores to youth groups, non-profits and schools. When times are tough, they don’t fire everyone, close down, and flee to their other stores around the country. They stay, because it’s their home.
Media, Advertising, Branding & Marketing Articles
10 Do's and Don'ts for Facebook Pages Use these tips to make the most of your Facebook marketing efforts.
Facebook may have 500 million users, but having an outpost on the social-media site won't necessarily increase sales or referrals to your website. But the right tools, used strategically, can help make Facebook an important part of your marketing, lead acquisition and customer-service strategies.
Here are some do's and don'ts for your company's Facebook page.
1. Do: Take advantage of Facebook Places. This location-based application allows users to "check in" -- or alert their network -- wherever they are. If you have a brick-and-mortar location, turn patrons into Facebook promoters by giving them freebies or specials offers if they check-in from your location, using Facebook Places. But be sure to connect your check-in page to your company page, otherwise Facebook users who click check-in links on their News Feeds and Walls will be taken to a generic Facebook page that doesn't contain your keywords or branding.
2. Do: Use Facebook for customer service. Online support forums and live-chat services can be costly. But Facebook can help you communicate easily with customers who become your fans on the site. Facebook's Wall, forums, status updates and other features let you answer technical and other queries, post new product upgrades or offer a frequently-asked-questions section. Additionally, your fans can help each other out.
3. Do: Go "tag" crazy. Tagging is simply to identify a Facebook user in a photo or video, an action that triggers an update to the user's News Feeds. Tag your business and your customers in videos and photos as often as possible. Why? Tagged photos and videos, especially those tagged by your fans, have a higher likelihood of being seen by more people. If you decide to launch a Facebook promotion, try to find ways to integrate tagging into the plan.
4. Do: Befriend Facebook group administrators. Search out influencers on Facebook and offer them specials, coupons and other perks they can offer to their Facebook groups. A status update, Wall post or message from a group's administrator will return better results than a mass message to their members from you.
5. Do: Add a well-placed "Like" button to your website and newsletters. Don't just throw a "Like" button on your site, integrate it into the customer experience and surround it with a call to action. For example, place near your mailing-list sign-up form. Users are more likely to click a "Like" button while opting-in for a subscription. Test, track and adjust this tactic until you see results. Here is a link to some instructions to help you get started.
6. Don't: Let your Facebook Wall be the first thing newcomers to your page see. The company page Wall is usually busy with status updates and user comments. Instead, use Facebook's page settings to set up a "welcome" page (see "How do I change the default tab"). Make sure it inspires action. Perhaps you can post a short YouTube video about your company with a vanity URL to a big promotion website or design a custom background showing users how to sign up for your mailing list.
7. Don't: Turn off your user comments function. If you promote your brand online, odds are good that you'll receive some negative feedback. Whether or not these comments are warranted, your responses and communication with these individuals will demonstrate your commitment to customer service.
8. Don't: Use the Facebook Events tab for RSVPs. If users register for events that you list on Facebook, you will not capture their data for your mailing list. Always require registrants to sign up for events on your own site.
9. Don't: Send mass messages to your network. Most users will never even look at your messages. Should you be compelled to send a message, make sure it offers something of real value. Clearly state that value in the message subject line. Avoid general brand messages and announcements, or you'll lose supporters.
10. Don't: Link Facebook Ads to your Facebook page. Targeted and compelling Facebook Ads may get you results. But link them to a page on your website that hosts information about the promotion and encourages users to take action in as few clicks as possible. Remember to push users from Facebook to your turf-- a web page -- where you control the content, environment and functionality. Doing so may provide a higher probability of converting leads into sales and acquiring consumer contact information.
Media, Advertising, Branding & Marketing Articles
Ignite a publicity wildfire on the web with a video blog.
Blogs are hot. Vlogs are hotter. A vlog, or video blog, is the newest way to engage your audience while kicking up your buzz factor. You can use video to enhance your blog, or you can use it as your blog's main content.
Why vlog? It's got publicity power. A good video clip gets attention online--it's instantly talked about and linked to by bloggers. Every day, ordinary people are becoming superstars thanks to online video. And business professionals who jump in early and publish "infotainment" will generate a whole lot of traffic.
Don't use vlogging as a hard sales pitch. Boring. Not wildfire-worthy either. Create commercial-style clips like those you've seen passed around the web. Or, promote a contest where vloggers create videos for your company's marketing campaign. To boost the contest's viral potential, you could invite the web world to vote for the best clips on your vlog.
Less entertaining, more educational videos are good, but they rarely have the fun factor that'll catch fire on the web. Like blogs, successful vlog marketing requires the enlisted help of raving fans. Reach out directly to bloggers and vloggers; ask them to rate and rant or rave about your videos. And post your clips on social sites such as YouTube.
To evaluate if vlogging is right for you, host a meeting your marketing team is sure to enjoy: Brainstorm video ideas. Nothing is too wacky, so long as you tie ideas to your business and create a call to action for this campaign. That's key. Always tie a promotional campaign back to a valuable action you can track--a newsletter sign-up or a sale, for example. The buzz about your business might last just 15 minutes, but that could be all you need to capture an entire new community of customers.
Vlogging can provide your business with instant, massive exposure on the web. Are you up for the challenge?
Catherine Seda is an internet and search marketing expert. She's also a dean of LA College International. Get her "Top 10 Internet Marketing Mistakes" report at www.catherineseda.com.