Category: Marketing

04
Apr

3 Things Small Business Owners Need to Know in 2014

If you’re a small business owner, you are well aware that the digital world is a fast-moving monster. The good news for you is, this monster can be tamed! This article features multiple topics that you will need to know in order to grow (or stay afloat) in 2014.

1) Canada’s New Anti-Spam Legislation

This is probably the most important topic of 2014 from a marketing perspective. This July, Canada will begin to enforce it’s incredibly rigid anti-spam bill. Spam has many definitions, but falls under the category of a “CEM” or “Commercial Electronic Message”. Businesses will have a new set of rules to comply with or run the risk of suffering charges up to $1m/day of being in breach of the new legislation. The rules are quite simple to follow, however businesses both large and small need to go over their subscriber lists and re-examine what their versions of “Commercial Electronic Messages” are within their company. For details on the new legislation, click here.

ANTISPAM

2) Mobile-Optimized Sites Are Now a Standard … Not a Luxury

A recent study by Google shows that 61% of mobile internet users will leave a website if it is not mobile-optimized.  With continual growth in SmartPhone sales, it’s no wonder that over 50% of local search traffic is performed on mobile devices.

But what does “Mobile-Optimized” really mean? Most business owners believe that because their website can be seen and navigated on a SmartPhone–they therefore have a mobile-friendly website. The truth is that “mobile-optimized”, really means that your site has the ability to “respond” to the device it’s being viewed on; thus making the navigation, design and flow of the website much more intuitive and enjoyable for your potential customer.

mobile

Above is an example of a “desktop” view of a website (left) compared to a “mobile optimized” view of a website (right). Note the clarity and ability to read text without having to “pinch-to-zoom” on the mobile-optimized website?

3) Social Media is “Word Of Mouth”

shareAs each year comes to a close it becomes more and more apparent that social media is here to stay. It’s no secret that people are influenced by their peers and Facebook has become a megaphone. “Keyboard Courage” has given introverts the power to voice their opinions with minimal implications. The already vocal extraverts are expressing their ideas to larger audiences–Facebook has become a culture. Reviews are posted on a second-by-second basis by everyday people with an average audience of 300 readers.

Businesses-to-consumer businesses who have not made the jump to social media (or have social media but aren’t executing properly) are going to be facing the repercussions of their lack of online efforts in the year 2014.  Don’t be left in the dust!

 

24
Sep

5 Tools to Simplify Your Business

As a business owner, I know how important it is to use my time effectively. The old adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is no longer relevant. We are coming into an age that requires every business owner to strategically focus his/her time. This article contains easy steps/programs that will save you time and as an end result save you money.

1. CRM – Customer Relationship Software

If you are still using an excel spreadsheet to keep track of your clients, chances are you are headed for or already have a headache. Using Cloud-Based  CRM software, you can keep track of your current and past clients using simple online technology that you can access from ANYWHERE.

Don’t discredit CRM’s by labelling them “online databases”. Most CRM’s let you track the progress of your potential clients by labelling them from leads to contacts to clients. An incredibly effective sales tool.

Industry leaders:

2. Email Program

Most companies once again use spreadsheets to compile long lists of clients to email in mass quantities. If done too often, your email address or worse, your website domain may be marked as a spam source. This can permanently disable your email and/or website. Using a proper email program is cheap and extremely effective.

The best feature most email programs have is the ability to keep separate send lists (i.e.: potential clients, current clients, employees, partners, etc). You can also use built in tracking programs to validate the success of your sent emails by discovering how many people opened your email, who clicked what link, who is interested in your current promotion, etc.

Industry Leaders:

3. DropBox

How many times have you tried to send an email with an attachment but the attachment was just too big to send? How many times do you wish that your folder of current projects was accessible by your co-workers? DropBox is the solution to these headaches and many more.

I won’t even list competitors for this service. DropBox is the most user-friendly Cloud-Based file sharing system on the internet. Purchasing DropBox for your company’s employees will save you hundreds of hours of wasted time.

Get started with DropBox here

4. Synced Calendars

Have a list of corporate events coming up but don’t want to print out hundreds of memos on paper and hand them out? Using a cloud-based calendar may be the ultimate solution. Give your employees access to only the events you want them to see, syncing with their SmartPhones and desktops.

Industry Leaders:

5. Receipt Tracking & Accounting

Wave is a very cool program that allows you to also integrate your smartphones and use them as scanners for your expense receipts. This program keeps track of your employees receipts and replaces the shoebox full of unorganized proof of spending.

11
Jan

Are You Overpaying For Website Hosting?

Here in Steinbach (and other areas of the province), too many businesses have come to us who have been overpaying for their website hosting. If you want the absolute honest truth about hosting, here it is:

Web hosting costs roughly $100 for the average website per year.  (This does not include major corporation websites or sites with online stores.)

There should be no monthly fees. If your hosting service or web designer is telling you otherwise, you may want to reevaluate.

What does Three do for website hosting? We charge $109/year. We have a $9 markup for the 15 minutes it takes to pass your information over to our web hosting service.

Our web hosting service isn’t a mysterious entity that is never seen nor heard of, it is an active part of our growing business that is readily available as the rest of the services offered by Three. Not only do we host your site for an honest price, we also keep a backup server running at all times in case one server goes down.

If you want to have minor updates done, rest in the assurance that we will take care of any bug fixes, maintain hack protection and keep your website up to date with Google–we have a packaged service that fits your needs. We offer a “Web Maintenance Package” for an additional $119/year. No monthly fees, no outrageous set up fees, just one honest rate as a “value added service” to our customers.

THAT is the truth about website hosting.

 

13
Aug

Main Street Location

As some of you may know. Three Marketing has just recently moved to 316 Main Street.  We are very excited to share office space with our great friends from Castle Mortgage Group. It’s been an incredible first year and we’re only half way through! The clients that we’ve had the honour of working with have been absolutely phenomenal and we’d like to thank each and every person who has referred us.

Starting up a business isn’t easy. It takes more time than you anticipate and even more determination. I speak on behalf of both my partner and I when I say it’s an extremely humbling experience. That being said it is an adventure–a rush.

We truly didn’t anticipate growing this quickly. Some businesses alter their vision to match their growth timelines but we can say with pride that we’ve stayed true. Every step of the way we have delivered nothing but the best customer service and design in our region and our efforts have been recognized by many prestigious businesses who appreciate that.

I’ve compiled a list of the companies who saw our potential and believed in our values:

  • Castle Mortgage Group – Steinbach
  • Steinbach Chamber of Commerce – Steinbach
  • Dreamworks Homes – Steinbach
  • The Eagle’s Loft – Steinbach
  • Edge of Time Ministries – Winnipeg
  • The Friesen Real Estate Team – Steinbach
  • Group Edge Business Solutions – Niverville
  • La Cocina Tortilla Chips – Ste. Anne
  • Limitless Interiors – Steinbach
  • Matthew Ryan Photography – Winnipeg
  • Northern Lights Installations – Brandon
  • Prudential Riverbend Realty
  • Shear Effects Hair Salon – Steinbach
  • Skyline Harvest – Blumenort
  • Stem Family Wellness – Steinbach
  • Studio 448 – Winnipeg
  • Unger Realty – Steinbach

We appreciate your business and wish you a fantastic rest of the year!

Mike Burnard
Creative Director

20
Jun

Website Design: 5 Reasons Why Most Websites Fail

After only six months of making our presence known here in Steinbach, Three Marketing has already helped several businesses created websites that prove to bring in more sales than ever before. We take pride in designing webpages that pay for themselves.

When it comes to websites and web design there are many misconceptions that business owners have. The biggest one being:

Why can’t I get away with buying a $500 website?

The cold hard answer to this question:

You get what you pay for.

A website that costs you $500 is inexpensive for several reasons:

1) Poor Google/Search Engine Rankings

This is the biggest problem a business can have with their website. The goal of your website is to be a 24/7 salesman. This is met by showing up on Google. You may be saying “Yeah Mike, but if I type on Google “my business name Steinbach” I show up just fine”–that’s not what I’m talking about. When a person in need of a service or product, he or she goes directly to Google…it is just like going through the yellow pages. They will search “Steinbach Marketing”, not “Three Marketing”. You’re website will do it’s job when people find you organically in that manner.

2) Poor design

The average time a viewer spends on a site when searching for a product or service is less than 7 seconds. If your site doesn’t contain grabbing information accented with a sleek and easy to read look…you’ve lost a potential client to the next competitor on the list.

3) Poor Functionality

If your website is built by a designer who isn’t up to date with the changing online world, your website will most likely be flawed or end up with coding errors that won’t be maintained or fixed.

4) Brand Confusion

Very often, web designers aren’t graphic designers. They don’t understand the essence of your business’ brand. This often results in colour clashing and even worse a confused customer.

5) Lack of Content

Your web designer doesn’t spend the time he/she should to fill your site with information that your customers care about. Having a web site built for you with just a logo and your contact information is just a glorified business card.

 

22
May

Is “Advertising” a 4-letter Word?

Is “Advertising” a four letter word?
In the past, “Advertising”  has been associated with many different presuppositions: radio ads, t.v commercials, billboards, newspaper ads–and a whole lot of money to throw at all the other “swag” you need to buy. This might have been true in the past, but with modern marketing methods there are more cost effective and measurable (not to mention less tacky) ways of running an advertising campaign for your company.
With social tools such as “Facebook Ads”, you can run an ad to assist your campaigns goal while targeting the exact demographic that you are after. (down to age, sex, interests, geographical location). Running this in coherence with a well planned advertising campaign can prove to be a very powerful tool.
There is a misconception that running an advertising campaign needs thousands and thousands of dollars. Yes, some do, but you can create a clear, concise advertising campaign to promote your product/service to the exact people that you would like to reach without spending your entire marketing budget.
While you are forming your marketing plan this spring, instead of using your entire budget on multiple, separate, forms of marketing, why not launch an advertising campaign that will help maximize your efforts. The synergy between different marketing mediums can create huge results.
You may be surprised at some of the tools in “new marketing” that will provide powerful results and help you stretch your dollars.
Contact us to find out what an advertising campaign can do for your company.
05
Apr

Steinbach Loves Facebook

In a recent study performed by Three Marketing, statistics are showing that the majority of citizens in Steinbach and it’s surrounding area are actively using Facebook.

If your business doesn’t have a Facebook page and you are looking for an increase in reach you may want to adjust your advertising strategies to incorporate Facebook as a major tool.

 

REMEMBER:

When making Facebook Ads, you can target your demographics very specifically into the sub-categories listed (men, mothers, iPhone users).

24
Feb

Advertising Vs. Marketing

A common misconception people make is “marketing” and “Advertising” are the same thing. “Marketing” is the communication of a business to its viewers. “Advertising” is an outlet of marketing. Creating a marketing strategy for your company does not have to break the bank. Many different approaches can be taken to accommodate many different budgets. However, industry standard tells us that marketing budgets should be anywhere between 2-8% of gross annual sales. Taking huge risk by setting budgets that you can’t afford is as harmful as not setting any. Balance is key in all parts of life, the extremes of a marketing budget is no different.
Seth Godin has soon good advice in one of his latest blogs:

Too many companies don’t run many ads for themselves

Spending money on your own account is a difficult psychological hurdle. Lots of small businesses get stuck in this chasm, happy to pitch, to network, to send out proposals and to work far into the night, but hesitate when it comes time to pay actual cash money for marketing, trade show booths or other sorts of media.

For the bootstrapper, for the woman who has worked so hard to get to postive cash flow, it feels dangerously daring, on the verge of insanity.

The question is: do successful businesses spend money on media, or does spenidng money on media make you successful?

(I think it’s some of both.)”

Read more of Seth Godin’s blogs here: Seth Godin Blog

Three Marketing Inc. is Steinbach’s most trusted marketing agency. To contact Three Marketing call 204.346.4418 or email Mike Burnard at Mike@threemarketing.ca

23
Feb

3 Easy Tips to Strengthen Your Brand

In the “small business” world, it is very common for businesses to be unaware of the effects their brand has on it’s viewers. Small business owners don’t have as much time to focus on their brand because their work and employees usually take priority. That being said, in a world where starting your own business is becoming more prevalent, it is more important that ever to be aware of your brand and the impacts it has on your clients and future customers.

What If McDonalds Had Green Arches?:

Colour is the first thing the eye notices–it is also the fastest acting agent in visual memory. Has your business selected a color to coincide with your brand? This colour choice would be used for your logo, signage, decals, etc. If the graphic on your truck is yellow and the sign on your building is green, you are sending mixed signals to potential clients. Consistency in colour help build brand equity while having an inconsistent colour scheme will confuse your market. When clients come to us for branding we like to take the phycology of colour into consideration. Here are some very basic examples of how color impacts the human brain:

Blue: Represents trust and security
Green: Encourages growth, and prosperity
Red: Creates a sense of urgency or hunger (it is the most recognizable but also the most common in some industries)
Yellow: Encourages appetite (although it can be the hardest to read)
Orange: Associated with ambition and energy

The use of colour is a very effective tool in branding and marketing. Everything from the shade of the colour, to the frequency of its use plays a large roll in how the brand is received. As we learn more about consumer perception and the psychology that surrounds it, we can increase the strength of our marketing.

The Thing About Slogans:

Does your company have a slogan? Slogans are very often overlooked or misused in small businesses. There is a common misconception that slogans have to rhyme or be more catchy than the business next door — this is not always the case. Instead of looking at it as a slogan, think of it as a “one sentence opportunity” to let your viewers know: “What you do and why you do it”. For example, hundreds of companies use initials–very often it’s initials of full names or a partnership. Let’s say you are “ABC Builders” … is your viewer aware that you do residential work? If you had a clear, concise slogan stating what your company does, you are clearly communicating to your potential clients. If they don’t know what you do, chances are, they will move on to the “XYZ” company that is the same company, but has more effective communication and branding.

Remember, branding is communicating with your audience. Provide your market with the easiest channel to understand who you are, what you do, and most importantly (for the sake of growth), make it as easy as possible for them to buy your product.

Mobile Billboards:

The title isn’t as complicated as it sounds…do you have a company truck? A trailer? Employees? These are all examples of mobile billboards. Decals are becoming more and more affordable. This gives you dozens of square feet of free ad space. Driving up and down streets with a strongly branded mobile billboard will make your business more recognizable and more memorable. If you have a handful of employees or an entire workforce, you can place your logo on their shirts, jackets, hats, etc. This will give your business a professional look and shows customers that you care about your brand. Your employees will be more than happy to walk around advertising for you everywhere they go.

These are just a few ideas that are worth looking into and exploring. Strong branding doesn’t mean that you have to have an unlimited marketing budget. These are very cost effective ways of achieving your marketing goals.

As the world around us becomes more and more competitive. You should be proud of your brand and it should support the quality of service or product you provide.

If you have any questions regarding this email feel free to contact our creative director Mike Burnard: Mike@threemarketing.ca or 204.346.4418

We would be more than happy to sit down and talk about what your brand can do for you!

Three Marketing Inc. is proud to be Steinbach’s most trusted marketing agency.

11
Jan

How YouTube Can Change Your Company for the Better!

50% of online searches are for videos. YouTube has become the worlds second largest search engine because of this. Harnessing the power of YouTube for your company can start a buzz about your business and drive traffic to your website and phone lines.

There are three types of videos successful businesses rely on. Viral, Informative and Testimonials.

Viral:

Viral videos generate the most buzz and views over any other form of video. Everybody has a friend who simply has to show off “the funniest video” that they found on YouTube (We have noticed a definite increase of Cat videos over the last 2 years). Producing a viral video can be extremely hard–but it is possible. If you are going for a viral video there are literally no rules (other than nudity and criminal acts). K-Swiss recently launched a campaign with actor Danny McBride who promotes the company in the most vulgar ways. The only question is, how sensitive is your demographic?

If I could give you a step-by-step guide to making a viral video I would, however this is not possible. There is no formula to making a viral video (other than feline integration) nor is there a way to guarantee it would go viral.

Informative:

This is where you can have complete control over your content, be demographically specific and be professional. Creating informative videos is the key to successful video marketing. For example, if you’re a plumber, once a month, why not put out an easy “do-it-yourself” video for a common problem? This creates trust between you and the viewer and, if they are successful, gives you credibility. They will continue to come back to your site or YouTube channel because they now have respect for you.

Your views won’t necessarily hit the 6,000,000 mark, however since the video is search specific (e.g.: how to unplug your toilet the right way) you know that your content has value to the few viewers who watch it.

Testimonials:

Testimonials are great–Especially in communities. A strong testimonial from a well liked person in your community can do wonders for your company. The trick is to get a strong testimonial that doesn’t look too fabricated, upload it to YouTube, then stream it to your website! This makes your site both interactive and effective.