Marketing Lessons from Shel Silverstein

Shel Silverstein has taught generations of children lessons about life from his books of fun and goofy poems. People of all ages can appreciate his wit and what he has to say. As adults, it’s easy to forget all those valuable words, but Shel Silverstein also has a number of lessons he can teach us about business and life. Here are four quotes from the famous poet that we should never forget as we begin to build and grow our businesses.

“Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”

This lesson can be very hard to remember in daily life. After all, most entrepreneurs have at least one force in their life telling them they’re not going to succeed. Sometimes one of the most important lessons is learning to tune out the naysayers and finding the mental strength to succeed in the face of adversity. Form your dreams, identify your goals, and plot a way to get there.

“If the track is tough and the hill is rough, thinking you can just ain’t enough.”

Forging your personal path is never easy. While most people intellectually understand there will be challenges, all too often, when these problems arise, they give up.

In business, you must accept the fact you’ll face problems and that things won’t always go according to plan. Sometimes the challenges will feel like too much. But if you have goals, you need the perseverance and strength to make it past the hurdles. Believing you can do so and determining the steps needed to succeed will give you the tools you need to continue along the path to your goals.

“If there is a book you want to read but isn’t written yet, write it.”

This quote applies to more than just books. It also applies to industries and businesses. If no one is fulfilling a particular niche and serving customers in a particular way, use that as your window of opportunity. The marketplace is extremely competitive. The companies that succeed are the ones that identify a need, determine a way to fill that hole, and then get their information in front of the necessary audience.

The idea of writing your own book also speaks to the importance of taking initiative. No matter what your position might be, finding ways to anticipate needs and then addressing those issues instead of waiting for someone else to notice the problem is an excellent way to get ahead and find both personal and company-wide success.

“Just ’cause somethin’ ain’t been done don’t mean it can’t be did.”

This quote also speaks to the importance of taking risks and being willing to be the first one to take a chance. This might mean developing a new product or service to fill a certain niche, or taking a conventional industry and finding completely unique ways to deliver your products and services. No matter what might drive you, don’t allow yourself to be limited by what others in the industry have done. Don’t be afraid to blaze your own trail and see where the road takes you.

Shel Silverstein has words of wisdom for all of us. Keep these quotes in mind and use them for the motivation you need to move forward. If you need help developing your marketing plan, contact us. We’ll be happy to offer guidance as you get started.

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What Preschoolers Can Teach Us About Marketing

Anyone who’s ever spent time with preschoolers in a classroom knows just how amazingly active the place can get. Children at this age are immensely curious about the world around them and work to absorb every bit of information they can. In their learning process, they not only start to understand their own situations, but also gain the tools needed to teach the rest of us some important lessons about marketing and running a business.

Be willing to try new things
Preschool is all about learning to try new things. Children who love to run around and get messy must learn to sit quietly and listen to a story, too. Children who want nothing more than to curl up on a bean bag chair and listen to book after book also have to learn how to engage in active play and run around. Preschool teachers understand that while we all have our strengths, to make true personal growth we must engage our weaknesses as well.

The same thing applies to your marketing. Perhaps you’re great at developing written content. Your difficulty comes with the perpetual conversation that is social media. To have a successful marketing campaign, however, you must do both.

Know when you need help
Preschool age children have a penchant for wanting to do things themselves. Unfortunately, try as they might, there are some things they simply cannot successfully do. When these situations arise, it’s important for the teacher to guide the student and help them understand that it’s ok to ask for and receive help when they need it.

The same is true in marketing and running a business. Although you might want to do everything yourself, sometimes you’re going to need to outsource particular tasks. Outsourcing, when done appropriately, will free you up to concentrate on the projects and tasks that only you can complete well. By prioritizing, you’ll be able to move your business forward with confidence.

Learn from mistakes and try again
To preschoolers, the world is just one giant place ready to be explored! It’s an exciting time in life. That tree in the schoolyard isn’t just a tree — it’s a jungle gym that needs to be scaled. What will happen if I roll down this steep hill really, really fast? This attitude for adventure invites young children to challenge themselves in every way.

Sometimes, however, the children will fall. They’ll bang up their knees and shed some tears. But after getting patched up, they tend to be right back out in the middle of the fun.

Apply a similar philosophy to your business. Victory and success tend to elude those who are cautious and unwilling to take risks. Those who do take risks, however, will sometimes fail. That’s ok. When a failure happens, you need to get up, brush yourself off, and be willing to jump right back in the game. You’ll need to learn from your mistakes, but don’t let past failures make you shy away from trying again and looking for new ways to succeed.

Preschoolers perpetually work to make sense of their world and all that they experience. In their struggles and successes, they have a number of lessons they can teach everyone else about marketing and succeeding in the business world. If you’re interested in learning more about starting a marketing campaign, give us a call at (847) 768-2679. We’d be happy to help you get started.

Business Lessons from Willy Wonka

The story of Willy Wonka is a classic childhood favorite that people have loved for generations. From the books to the original movie version that was adapted in 1971 to its latest incarnation in 2005, the idea of this fantastic chocolate factory has entertained and delighted children of all ages.

The story follows young Charlie Bucket, who manages to find one of five golden tickets hidden in delicious Wonka Bars. These tickets give the winners a tour of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory and a lifetime supply of chocolate. The five winners receive their prize tours, during which the other prize winners are eliminated one by one because of their poor behavior. Only Charlie manages to pass all the tests for honesty. In the end, it’s revealed that his true prize will be the chocolate factory itself.

For us in the business world, the story of Willy Wonka and his chocolate factory is much more valuable than mere entertainment. It can teach us many lessons about successfully running a company. Here are just a few that every business owner should note.

The importance of innovation

Willy Wonka ran one of the most prized and valued chocolate companies in the world, with children of all ages eagerly consuming the chocolate in an effort to find the bars containing the sought-after golden tickets. One of the key reasons for the popularity of the brand was the sheer innovation of the factory’s products. Whether an ‘everlasting gobstopper’ or ‘three-course-dinner’ gum, the treats created at the Wonka factory were unique and delicious. The ability of the factory to remain a trendsetter of the candy world led customers to remain loyal fans.

We, too, must continue to look for ways to innovate and better meet the needs of customers. Being content with the same products and services will not help our brands become industry leaders or help us find loyal customers.

Promotions can be the key to successful advertising

Customers and companies alike enjoy promotions, making them a fantastic marketing tool. While most companies will never enjoy the publicity Willy Wonka’s factory enjoyed, with the competition and winners being featured on the news, it’s still possible for nearly any promotion or loyalty program to gain traction. Social media can be a major asset in promoting such a program. Reward your customers and encourage them to return time and again. This is a wonderful way to gain name recognition and build loyalty.

The value of honesty

Willy Wonka managed to cultivate a superior business plan because he knew how to select workers, and he chose Charlie because of his honesty. The boy impressed the chocolatier because he turned down offers of money in favor of being completely forthright, impressing Wonka. Wonka knew that this boy had the values that would enable the factory to continue to grow.

We, too, should always look for employees and leaders who value honesty and integrity. A positive reputation will help build a culture of trust. In turn, this will help enhance the cohesiveness among the staff and encourage communication.

The story of Willy Wonka and his chocolate factory has delighted people for generations. Next time you watch one of the movies or read the books, take the time to learn a bit about business from Mr. Wonka. If you’re ready to start building a new marketing campaign, contact us at www.copyset.com for help getting started.

5 Ways to Increase Visitor Engagement in 2015

As you prepare your marketing plans for the year, one of your chief priorities should be website visitor engagement. As engagement increases, so do brand loyalty and conversions. Engagement helps page visitors begin to build a relationship with your brand. This in turn helps to increase their trust in what you have to say and makes them more likely to end up buying from you. Here are a handful of changes you can make to greatly enhance your visitor engagement and see measurable changes in 2015.

Make content easily shareable

Encourage page visitors to interact with your brand by sharing your content. You can accomplish this by making your content interesting and easy to broadcast across various social channels. Enable social share buttons on every piece of content you produce, and share the content yourself on a variety of social networks. If your content provides high value and is timely, readers will be more likely to want to share that information with their connections.

Use gamification and promotions

Use fun contests and games to encourage page visitors to remain on your website and tell others about your brand. There are a number of different types of games and promotions you can use. For example, have customers solve puzzles to earn coupons. Encourage them to share your brand with friends to earn points. Run contests on your social media pages that invite people to tell stories about their successes with your brand. Use these opportunities to encourage communication and build a relationship between page visitors and your company.

Encourage feedback

When customers know their opinions are valued, they’re more likely to feel loyal to your brand. Customers appreciate companies that go the extra mile to help them and make their experiences memorable. Encourage this level of engagement by letting customers vote on different topics they’d like to have featured on your website, leave reviews of your products and services for others to see, and offer opinions and feedback about your brand and their experience with it. Your page visitors will enjoy having their voices heard, and you’ll gain better insight on your customers, which can help you improve your marketing and customer service efforts.

Remember customers

Work with your website developers to create a website that will remember customers and their preferences when they return. Simple things, such as automatically filling out forms or remembering products that the customer looked at the last time they visited, can be excellent for boosting engagement. Such conveniences will make it easier for customers to convert, while at the same time helping them feel as though the services they’re receiving from you are personalized to their specific needs.

Make recommendations

In addition to remembering customers when they return to your website, add functionality that provides solid recommendations based on past purchases, too. Consider websites such as Amazon that offer recommendations based on the buying habits of others who have bought similar products in the past. These services encourage people to dive deeper into the website, increasing their interaction and improving the odds they will convert. Similarly, make sure your calls-to-action always fit well with the topic and intended audience of the content you’re presenting.

Increasing visitor engagement on your website can help your brand take its marketing efforts to new levels for 2015. Keep the above tips in mind, and see how you start building stronger company loyalty in the new year. If you’re ready to start developing a new marketing campaign, contact us today at (847) 768-2679 to get started.

The Role of Gamification in Marketing

For many of us, increasing visitor engagement is an important goal for the new year. Marketing today revolves around building relationships with prospective customers. When a prospective client sees you as an authority, they’re far more likely to convert and buy from you.

Improving visitor engagement on your website, through social media, and in person can help boost brand loyalty and build relationships that lead to sales. Gamification is a growing trend in making that happen. The process works by encouraging prospects to interact with your brand through various games and competitions.

What you should know about gamification

Gamification is quickly gaining steam among some of the largest brands in the world. Of the largest 2,000 companies in the world, more than 70 percent had used at least one form of gamification by the end of 2014. Fifty one percent of American adults also say that when competition is added to their everyday activities, they become more likely to pay attention to their behavior in those areas.

The vendors of various gamification programs claim that companies can see a 100 percent to 150 percent improvement in engagement on their websites simply by including gasification in their marketing.

Customers have begun to expect companies to work on developing relationships with them. Gamification is an easy way to build these kinds of relationships while also providing some fun and a reason to return. Even more appealing is that many games can also be used to encourage players to tell their friends about their progress on the game. This can be a wonderful form of advertising.

How gamification works

Gamification can take a number of different forms. Think, for example, about the popular McDonald’s Monopoly game. Consumers receive game pieces with various meals, increasing their odds of winning some awesome prizes.

Not all gamification efforts include glamorous prizes, but they still encourage customers to participate. For example, producers of the TV show Psych created Club Psych, an online arcade that allowed users to play different games and complete challenges based on the television show. Users could earn points and challenge their friends. The effort led to a 30 percent increase in traffic, a 50 percent increase in sales, a 130 percent increase in page views, and an overall reach of more than 40 million people.

Nike + was also an immense success. People could use the company’s app to track their physical fitness and share it with others on social media. The app tracks fitness data to help people see their personal improvements or compete with others from anywhere in the world.

Gamification keeps people involved and uses their desire for challenge, competition, and fun to bring them back over and over again. Best of all, it doesn’t have to be extravagant or over the top. Offering prizes to people who collect all four of a particular month’s direct mail fliers or having a search for clues on a website to qualify for a coupon can help boost engagement without much cost.

Gamification helps turn marketing and attracting attention into a game. It boosts loyalty and conversions. If you’re interested in learning more about how to start a marketing campaign to maximize customer engagement, contact us today at www.copyset.com. We’d be happy to help you get started.

What a Symphony Orchestra Can Teach Us About Harmony and Marketing

We all have some type of music we find pleasing to the ear. For some, it’s classical. Others prefer rock, hip hop, pop, or jazz. But no matter what type of music we enjoy, there’s something about a symphony orchestra that seems to draw admirers from a wide variety of musical backgrounds and tastes.

An orchestra brings harmony to life. Its beauty comes from the different sections — woodwinds, percussion, strings, and brass — working together to create something spectacular. If just one person or one section is out of tune or out of line, the entire piece can fall flat. The same is true in your marketing.

The importance of harmony in marketing

Just like an orchestra, marketing works best when every member of the team works together to perfectly complement the others. In today’s busy world, countless platforms vie for your audience’s attention. Print media, inbound marketing, social media, PPC ads, retargeting ads, radio advertising, and more all seek at least some portion of the metaphoric pie.

Too often, we try to meet these demands by randomly throwing content at all of these different platforms. We see each platform as a checklist of requirements, rather than a resource to be leveraged. By finding harmony in the platforms we use to carry out our plans, we stand a far greater chance for success from our marketing efforts. The key to creating this harmony is five-fold:

  1. Develop the central message for the new marketing campaign.
  2. Identify the key characteristics of buyers the marketing campaign will target, including where those people will be found.
  3. Use these characteristics to prioritize your advertising platforms and decide which ones will receive a greater share of the budget.
  4. Develop the campaign with all of the platforms pointing toward a common goal, such as leading buyers to a particular promotional webpage.
  5. Use common colors, language, and themes across the different platforms to create a unified brand.

Take the time to learn how different platforms complement each other, such as how social media can drive people toward the inbound content on your website. This will enhance your efforts and your reach. Marketing works best when different platforms are used in unison to create a common message for prospective customers. When marketing is performed well, it can make people sit up and pay attention.

Finding the right rhythm in your marketing requires careful analysis and planning. When you can accomplish this, you’ll see far better results from your marketing campaigns. If you’re interested in developing a successful new marketing campaign, contact us today. We’d be happy to help you get started.

Back to Basics: The ‘Why’ in Creating Valuable Content

When it comes to producing valuable content, countless marketing and business professionals will tell you that you ‘should,’ but not many delve into the ‘why.’

“You need content to bring customers to your website!”
“You need content to keep up with the digital age!”
“You need content because that’s what your customers seek!”

These responses are the ‘reasons’ most often given for spending time creating content for websites and marketing materials.

In truth, creating valuable content will help you grow your business and improve your bottom line. Here are two key ways it accomplishes this:

1. It helps you build trust with your customers.
People don’t accept advertisements at face value. They choose brands based on how well those brands meet their needs.

When customers go online, they want to find answers to their questions. They want a brand to understand the problems they face, offer solutions, and explain why their products are the best at meeting those needs. When a prospect finds a company that answers their questions again and again while also providing them with a service that comes with good reviews, the decision to buy becomes a no-brainer.

Valuable content builds a reputation of authority and leadership in the minds of customers. They come to see you as someone who really knows your industry and feel confident knowing they can turn to you whenever they have questions. This increases loyalty and the potential for future sales.

2. It’s more likely to be shared, increasing your brand’s reach.

Customers today live on social media. Just about everyone has a Facebook or Twitter account. People use these profiles to share things that interest them and offer value they think others might appreciate. When you provide your customers with repeated value, you enhance the odds your material might be shared on these social sites. When content is shared, it automatically increases your reach, while also building credibility in the minds of all those who see the share. Customers tend to trust referrals more than standard advertising.

How to develop content that can work this way

The potential for quality content is incredible. Your task is to learn how to capitalize on it. Here are six steps to get you started:

  1. Research and identify the ‘ideal customers’ you want to reach.
  2. Learn as much as possible about these ideal customers.
  3. Determine the common questions and problems that face these customers.
  4. Develop content that addresses these questions and problems in an informative and helpful way.
  5. Share the content on blogs, social media, emails, newsletters, and other places to draw attention to it.
  6. Repeat the process regularly to stay current.

When you take the time to develop valuable content for your customers, you’re investing in helping your business grow. Take the time to create content your customers will appreciate, and watch the impact it can have on your brand.