Monthly Archives: November 2013

The Art of Corporate Giving

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Charity (noun)

1. The giving of necessities, especially money,  to the needy

2. Kind, gentle or compassionate treatment

The holiday season sees a rise in charitable giving from individuals and businesses alike. Maybe your business is one of these and you participate in a yearly ritual of buying toys to donate or working in a kitchen to feed the community at Christmastime.  You might even be part of one of those businesses that makes community involvement a priority throughout the year.

Many charitable organizations depend on the donations at holiday time to fund most of the rest of the year. Many struggle to make those donations stretch until the next holiday season.  How can your business become a year-round community supporter?

Getting buy-in for consistent corporate giving can be challenging. Here are some things to consider if you want to increase community involvement:

  • Fully articulate the purpose of your giving – The best way to do this is to thoroughly research what your chosen charity does, for whom and how. Consider who else supports your charity. If they receive substantial support from another local business or group, consider a cause that has a greater need. Utilize any past measurements or statistics to demonstrate the charity’s effectiveness.
  • Develop your own measurements – There are a couple things you probably want to measure. First, articulate the impact of your donation in terms of man-hours, money raised, people served or items produced. Setting goals and measuring success not only give senior management something they can quantify, it also motivates all the employees to participate.  Second, evaluate the impact of the project on your reputation, or even financial gains. Yes, charitable giving should not expect anything in return, but demonstrating a positive return can spur even more giving in the future.
  • Estimate the resources you will need – Just because your charitable project doesn’t have a bottom line or the typical use of resources, doesn’t mean it is any less of a project. Carefully consider your resources so you do not under or over commit. Use some traditional project management to consider the strengths and opportunities of your project.  And be sure not to leave anyone out who wants to participate. Provide opportunities for employees to give of their time or money no matter how big or how small.

Whether your community outreach involves two people or 200, consider donating time or treasure now and throughout the year. Visit Charity Navigator or Great Nonprofits to learn more about corporate giving.

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The Birth of Twitter

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In 2006, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey (@jack) made the first post on Twitter.

Jack Dorsey        ✔ @jack

just setting up my twttr

A mere seven years later, Twitter has over 200 million active users. Do you remember your first tweet? Here are some celebrity first tweets from over the years:

Oprah Winfrey        ✔ @Oprah

HI TWITTERS . THANK YOU FOR A WARM WELCOME. FEELING REALLY 21st CENTURY .

Billy Crystal        ✔ @BillyCrystal

JD Salinger once told me, “If you want to keep in touch with your audience…tweet.” Here I am. Look for my new film on @FunnyOrDie April 6.

Bill Cosby        ✔ @BillCosby

Have a tweet time and I will write tweet nothings in your ear.

 

To celebrate today, Twitter released a video chronicling their evolution and some of their greatest moments.

Clearly the social implications of Twitter are tremendous. But tweeting about what you had for lunch is not necessarily the best business use of Twitter. The past several years have seen a surge of business use on Twitter, despite perceptions that tweeting is for a younger, less serious generation. Are you still hesitant to embrace micro-blogging for your business for fear of being seen as less than professional somehow? Here are some things to consider:

1. Consumers expect interaction from their brands. More importantly, they want interaction with the people who are behind their favorite brands. Business has become more personal than ever.

2. Around half of Twitter users go online more than once an hour.

3. 50% of brand followers are more likely to buy from a brand after following it.

4. 30% of Twitter users earn more than $100,00 per year.

5. You can also use Twitter for B2B. You can follow leaders in your industry to stay informed and participate in conversations.

When you start to tweet remember that you can set the tone of the conversation. Not only will your posts shape your brand image, so will the posts of other people and your responses to them. It is up to you to steer the conversation in an authentic and positive way.

Login, sign up and create your business’ Twitter presence. Bann has a team of experts to help you do that, too!

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Social Media Marketing in Minnesota

Social Media Marketing in Minnesota

Social Media Marketing in Minnesota

Social Media can be one of the most effective marketing tools available to a company. People are far more likely to view the information as reliable and convincing when the recommendation comes from a friend they trust. This is true no matter where you are in the country, whether it be Arizona or Minnesota. Taking advantage of the power of mass marketing that social media provides is going to help your business, or product, reach a larger consumer base.

When it comes to social media marketing, it is important to keep in mind of your goals. It may be a good idea for a huge corporation like McDonald’s to shoot for a nationally viral marketing campaign, but if you’re smaller company it would be less of a good idea. Why not focus on the area you’re good at? If you’re a Minnesota company, focus on producing a marketing campaign that will resonate with the residents of Minnesota, rather than attempting to grab a national demographic.

Regional Marketing

The Old Milwaukee commercials featuring Will Ferrell are a great example of regional marketing. While we all may be familiar with the bizarre super bowl add from this campaign, did you know there were regional ads as well? Each piece of marketing was designed to appeal to the area in which it aired. This led to a huge explosion of popularity on the social media networks, as these smaller commercials appealed to the local region where they were targeting. If you’re a Minnesota company, then creating a social media marking campaign that appeals directly to people in Minnesota could be a huge step in the direction of success.

Social Media Marketing

Social media is all about what your friends like. That means you need to ignite the initial spark that would motivate someone to send it to their friends and say, “Hey, did you see that awesome Minnesota commercial?” If you can’t get the spark started, then you’re never going to ignite the fire that a social media marketing campaign needs in order to be really successful. This form of marketing is powered almost exclusively by word of mouth. If you can’t get the mouths moving, then your social media marketing is just going to flounder around, with nowhere to go.

One of the other huge benefits of a social media marketing campaign is that it gives the company a chance to interact with their customer base. Having a conversation with the people in your Minnesota area could let you know exactly what sort of ad might really go viral in that particular crowd. You can find out what they like, what they dislike, and what other forms of advertising have become a hit among the crowd. This is the power of social media marketing, the ability to dive right into the crowd and get the information you need straight from the horse’s mouth. Why waste all of the money doing huge expensive studies on what people do and don not like, when social media marketing gives you the chance to ask your Minnesota customer exactly what they’re looking for?

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Blogging Online

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Like most successful companies nowadays, a business needs a strong, digital foundation to grow off of. The internet has not only become one of the biggest marketing strategies in the world, but it’s also the place where people go to share information. What better way to create an internet marketing success story than bragging about your business?

Of course you don’t want to come off as chauvinistic; there are plenty of other businesses like yours in the field. What every successful business has and needs is a blog, a way to convince readers that their company is more marketable than their competitors. Bigger businesses need to produce content that is SEO compatible so that not only are they providing useful information on their services, but they are also catering to the most popular topics through search engine optimization.

Blogging and Keeping it Fresh

There are some intelligent approaches to blogging. First of all, blog as much as you can about your business. Not only will your page rankings go up, provided the content is SEO friendly, but it will show that you care for your business and how it is viewed. If you can take the time out of your day to spread the word of your business in the real world, than the virtual world should be even easier to manage. For small business owners, keep the blog fresh and on track with topics. You will only grow if you keep your eyes on the prize and keep marketing towards yourself and not other events or people within your local area.

Commit to your blog and keep it on a regular schedule. For subscribers, they actually want to see how you are marketing to them. They watch your content to check up on the latest news of your company and the market that it is in. Three times a week is a decent and doable schedule for smaller businesses. Larger businesses, however, should provide content at least once daily in order to keep readers and clients interested as well as SEO rankings consistent and growing.

If writing isn’t your thing or you want a more knowledgeable third party assisting in creating and providing SEO content for your blog, hire a particular branding company to help you become a more marketable online household name. Local internet marketing companies will help smaller to medium sized businesses because not only will they know what will be appropriate SEO material to post, but they will know how to catch the eyes of potential clients in the surrounding region. Larger companies may need that extra step to be spectacular online or may not have the easiest time writing about their own brand. Branding companies will take all the information you provide them and make your company researchable, marketable, favorable, and “the next best thing”. Always be sure to research these companies before use and discuss rates and fees.

To keep your business current, always be sure to update your blog with the newest information on your brand as well as your company. A blog can make or break a company, but usually at least provides more viewing and creates higher rankings for companies who rely mostly on internet marketing. Be smart about your posts, keep content fresh, and have fun; the most important part of your blog is you.

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Is Direct Mail Dead?

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Despite the persistent rumors that print is dead, mailboxes everywhere continue to get stuffed with direct mail marketing pieces. But how successful is direct mail marketing?

According to the following infographic by Bolt Insurance, direct mail marketing is on the rise. In 2011, direct mail spending totaled $47.8 billion; spending has been increasing in 2013 and will achieve a 3.6% growth through 2014, according to the projections cited by Bolt.

The reason for direct mail marketing’s growth is the power it wields: On average, 6.5 in 10 people who receive direct mail marketing make purchases or otherwise engage with the business.

In comparison to emails sent to existing customers, “direct mail has 30 times the chance of receiving a response from the customer,” according to the infographic.

For certain topics, direct mail marketing is the preferred method of receiving information. For example, the top three areas in which people prefer direct mail marketing (as opposed to the Internet or email) are…

  • Sensitive health information
  • Treatment for a specific condition
  • Financial services
  • Mail-order shopping
  • Insurance

To find out more about direct mail marketing popularity, check out the following infographic: