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Website Design – Part 3 of 3

Part 3: Website Design – Connecting

So you have their attention, but are you making a connection? People like to feel like they are a part of something big. Having a compelling statement will draw your visitor in and entice them to take action further within your website.

Develop a connection. Visitors to your site should feel like they are part of your family (your brand). Ask your first time users to sign-up for an account, subscribe to newsletters, or share your site with others. Have the links available to do this directly on the homepage so you won’t risk losing visitors as they navigate throughout your website.

Be social! Blogging will help you connect with your customers. Blogs reinforce your company’s brand and your expertise in your industry. Update your events, new products, or any other relevant information religiously and encourage your visitors to stay connected through your company’s social media sites.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is the most effective way to drive traffic to your website. Websites are ranked by design usability, the amount of relevant content, and social media activity. Every ‘like’ and ‘comment’ on social networks will help increase your search engine ranking. Your website design structure and the proper placement of high value keywords will help optimize your homepage and increase your search engine ranking. The goal is to keep visitors on your website, therefore, strategic website design is imperative. All good relationships are built on trust, so make sure visitors to your website can find the essential information they are looking for with quick, readily accessible, and functional hot-links.

Remember, people buy from companies they like and trust. Website design can strength or weaken your brand, make sure your website is an asset and not a liability.

We hope you have enjoyed our three part series on great elements of website design.


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You Became Submissive and Looked What Happened

Building Healthy Business Relationships

Business is built on relationships. Thus, the terms B2B and B2C are referring to a symbiotic relationship.  Healthy and strong relationships take nurturing, neglect breeds apathy, apathy destroys relationships.

Think about your own business relationships for a minute.  Do you have good relationships with your co-workers and with your customers?  How do you think your customers and co-workers view your management style?  Here are five tips that may help you maintain and develop good relationships:

1.     Become submissive.

If you are drinking coffee right now, you probably just choked.  Culturally, we often associate negative connotations to the word “submissive.” Here submissive means to back off and actively listen, become open to different possibilities. Some of the most creative ideas emerge when we let our guard down and just listen to others.

2.     Set boundaries.

When clear internal and external boundaries are set, everyone knows what is expected of them. It is much easier to thrive when there are easy reference points of expectations for all parties involved in the relationship.

3.     Remember you are not alone.

The African proverb, “It takes a village”, is modern and relevant to all of us. Stronger business ties are established when strengths and weaknesses are assessed.  Not good at marketing? Designate this task to someone who can really shine in this area. In this way, your internal strengths are maximized. It’s not about you! It’s about creating a winning plan for success.

4.     Make your partner happy.

Weather your relationship is with your consumer or someone within your company; all parties need to feel contented. Think of your business relationship as a circle. When you have a positive effect on the person in your relationship, it circles back to you. Everybody becomes more vested when there is a sense of the relationship meeting their needs.

5.     Don’t be afraid to let an unhealthy relationship go.

There isn’t a relationship out there that doesn’t have some rocky times. When you communicate effectively and have tried to implement all the tips above, you will intuitively know which relationships are worth riding out for the long haul.  Often fear keeps us in toxic or unhealthy relationships. Unhealthy relationships are time and energy suckers, and keep you from focusing on what you are good at.

If you have a strong business model and the intent to nurture positive relationships, new relationships will continually flourish that offer abundance and satisfaction for all involved


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Website Design – Krewe Rugby

Krewe-RugbyKrewe Rugby needed a site overhaul, specifically with the ability to easily manage their own content, whether it  was photos, videos, documents or other information. We worked closely with them to make sure they were able to spread the word about Krewe to their friends and fans.


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Google+ For Business

google_plusPlaybook Public Relations, LLC receives numerous inquiries from our clients about why Google+. They ask us, “Why is it important for my business?” Playbook Public Relations has comprised a list of the top ten reasons why your business needs to be a part of the Google+ community:

[list type=”check”]

  • Your customers and potential customers are using Google+. Google+ has over 100 million users and is predicted to grow to 400 million by the end of 2012.
  • It’s a great way to improve your search engine ranking. Let’s face it. Google is the king of search and using their interfaces increases your company’s search ranking.
  • Google+ makes virtual collaboration easy. Google+ supports fast and easy sharing of documents or images. That results in greater productivity at a fraction of the price of conventional in-person meetings or videoconferencing.
  • Get your message to the right audience with a click. With Google+, you can put customers into different groups or “circles” (by geography, by age, by interest) and then easily communicate with each circle separately, or with multiple circles at the same time.
  • Google+ allows free video chats. One of the best features on Google+ is Google Hangouts, Google’s video chat tool. Google Hangouts works well for video conferencing with members in your circles.
  • Google+ provides free focus groups. Why pay for focus groups when you can use Google+ to get answers to questions, e.g., pertaining to how your brand is received in the marketplace. Google+ focus groups are a great way to elicit customer feedback.
  • This platform facilitates B2B marketing. If you are looking to connect with other businesses, Google+ Your Business is designed to help. Your circles can include other businesses or industries that you wish to target.
  • Google+ is a plus for PR. With Google+ circles, businesses can target the public and make desired media relations contacts. When your business delivers a message through Google+, it is going to be picked up by users who are more likely to respond, including key industry personalities and publishers.
  • This platform promotes brand awareness. Because of the emergence of social media, it is essential for brands to build their reputation and brand message online.
  • Google+ is another avenue for you to advertise promotions on. With Google+, it’s easy to offer promotions to your target audience within your circles.

[/list]

Playbook Public Relations’ team members are experts in digital marketing. Call us to today for a consultation and we will develop a powerful tool for your business―a Playbook!


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Strategic Marketing

Strategic Marketing for Educational Institutions

Recently, the Center for Neurosomatic Studies (CSN), an educational institute that provides an 18-month curriculum in Neurosomatic Therapy (NST) asked us to create a strategic marketing plan to ensure a successful launch of their inaugural class.

CNS needed a marketing and public relations (PR) strategy to attract qualified students for the fall semester 2012.  CNS has a unique value proposition.  While their patients’ testimonials are inspirational and newsworthy, unless you have gone to the St. John-Clark Pain Treatment Center for treatments then you have probably never heard of Neurosomatic Therapy.

Neurosomatic Therapy (NST) is no ordinary massage. Physicians, patients, and therapists agree that Neurosomatic Therapy (NST) succeeds where traditional forms of therapeutic pain management fail.  NST treats pain through manual therapy, not by prescribing pills. There has been an increasing demand for training in areas of manual therapy that require advanced knowledge of human physiology and kinesiology in order to address specific imbalances often presenting as chronic pain. In response to this increasing demand and due to the lack of qualified therapists to treat patients, Randall Clark and Kevin Wade established the Center for Neurosomatic Studies (CNS).

Playbook Challenge

Playbook’s challenge: To market an educational institution that that teaches a skill that the general population has no knowledge of.    Give our love of competition, we embraced the endeavor, rolled up our sleeves and got to work.  Task one, reinvent the marketing message, Randy and Kevin’s technical knowledge is mind-blowing.  We had to chisel down their knowledge to four main bullets points.  We had to tailor the message to attract qualified students.  Task two; carry the message and the brand to the Tampa Bay community.  While CNS envisioned eventually attracting students from all over the country, there is tremendous talent in the Tampa Bay area and we want to capitalize on the local talent pool.

TV Time

We arranged for Randy and Kevin to appear on CSB’s Studio 10 morning show.  Click here to watch the video: www.youtube.com/CNStudies.com.  This segment gave Randy and Kevin seven minutes to educate and brand CNS.  Task three; create a social media strategy for CNS.  Social media is a complete waste of time for businesses unless there is a strategy.

Social Media

We revamped their Facebook page, created a Twitter account, a Pinterest account, a Google + and YouTube account.  Task four, grassroots efforts.  Roxanne and I hit the pavement and targeted yoga studios throughout the bay area to attract potential students.   We held information sessions at the school and packed the classroom.  We called Rotary Clubs to schedule Randy and Kevin as guest speakers.  The result?  From zero applicants a month ago to an inaugural class for CNS will starting on Monday, September 10th.

Good luck to all the students at CNS.  We admire the courage and dedication that change requires.  I know from first-hand experience that Neurosomatic Therapists help patients live pain-free lives.

At Playbook Public Relations we only win when our clients are successful.  We are here to serve our clients’ needs and provide solutions to their problems.  We are honored to earn the trust of our clients.  Call us so we can create a custom “Playbook” for your business.


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Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibility Means Good Business

alpnrock_logo_highres-e1367522531592[1]Playbook Public Relations client, Alp-n-Rock (ANR), a unique luxury clothing company, founded its business with a cornerstone of corporate social responsibility. Their idea was to give a percentage of the company’s profits to the non-profit organization Room to Read. ANR’s founder, Suzanne Reich, is passionate about educating girls on a global scale, as she understands educated women help break the poverty cycle in one generation, so she started the clothing line as a way to give back. What a powerful message this sends to the consumer!

“You can actually make a lot of money and do a lot of good in the world,” says Peter Henry, Dean of NYU’s Stern School of Business. According to Dr. Henry, students who are enrolling in the prestigious business school are not just looking to be financially successful; they also want to impact the world in a positive way. As our economies become more global and we seethe interconnectedness of our world, this line of thinking is moving to the forefront.

Let’s take a look at Tom’s Shoes, another company benefiting from corporate social responsibility at its cornerstone. For every pair of shoes purchased, a pair is donated. The consumer naturally wants to support this mission. It feels good to them to be able to reach out and help in a way they may not be able to do on their own. And it also generates a lot of revenue for Tom’s. Would this company be as successful if they didn’t have such a strong corporate ethic to make a difference? Probably not.

The way consumers shop has evolved dramatically over the past decade. No longer do you have just one hardware store in town or only one strip of local shops to get goods from. Consumers have thousands of options. Adding corporate social responsibility to your business plan may be just what your business needs to get your employees and consumers excited about the products or services you offer.

For a growing number of consumers, big corporations are seen as villainous. Public and media awareness is laser focused on issues like:  corporate greed, off-shore out-sourcing, and golden parachutes for corporate executives. Now when a business violates safe environmental and work-site policies, it is front page news.

Recently, Walmart was in the news for leaving their mulch in the parking lot too long causing the possibility of pesticides moving into a local water source, the Catawba River in North Carolina. A lawyer for Walmart said, “Annually, our stores give back millions of dollars within their local communities specifically for environmental issues.” And is correct.

Walmart has been the target of bad press (well-deserved) for years, but now the company is taking a leadership role in sustainable initiatives corporate social responsibility. Walmart demands that all of their vendors comply to EPA regulations, regardless of locality. This means that the vendor who supplies red folder you buy for your children’s school supplies, has to ensure every piece of their supply chain is practicing sustainable business practices, i.e. no toxic red dye and human rights violations from off-shore suppliers. Walmart is also committed to reducing packaging and waste to landfills by over 5% by the year 2013. Walmart’s initiative to reduce waste associated with packaging is unprecedented. They also have led the way utilizing innovative energy saving initiatives such as using renewable resources and LED lighting. Walmart knows helping our planet also helps their bottom line. It also keeps the customers coming in.

If you had a choice, shop at Superman’s store or Lex Luther’s, what would it be? Take it even deeper: who would you rather have a conversation with? Because that’s what marketing essentially is – a conversation.

Business owners need to consider implementing a “corporate social responsibility” into their business models. Being authentic is essential, pick a cause that you and your employees feel strongly about. Small to medium sized companies like ANR to giant corporations like Target can rally behind the same cause.  Both companies feel strongly about supporting education. Let’s emphasize those key words, “FEEL STRONGLY.” Authenticity is imperative otherwise your consumers will feel, and the positive impact will be lost.

Social media sites, like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn provide an outlet for your business to engage in conversation with your customers in a way that was not possible before. It is a great and free venue for sharing your companies green initiatives and corporate social responsibility policies.  Start sharing all the ways your company positively contributes to your employees and the communities it serves. Start marketing that good feeling and inspire others to do the same. The days of a rather hip slogan are passé.


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Goal Setting for 2018

Goal Setting for 2014

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”   Henry David Thoreau

John C Maxwell

John C Maxwell

In 1979, a study on Harvard MBA graduates revealed that 3% of Harvard MBAs financially gained ten times as much as the other 97% Harvard MBA’s combined. In that study, Harvard MBA graduates were asked, “Have you set clear written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?” While 84% had no goals at all, and 13% had goals, but weren’t on paper, 3% had clear, written goals with absolute plans to accomplish them.(Source: from the book What They Don’t Teach You in the Harvard Business School, by Mark McCormack)

Writing down your goals is like creating a Playbook for success!

Goals are a progression and represent a desire for change. Goals are meant to be challenging and difficult. So when there is a goal set into place, it needs to be deeply decided and planned. Clearly, success can be measured by the amount of accountability you put onto paper.

Before goals are set in stone, there are a few things that should be considered.

1. Make realistic goals

Start with small achievable goals and write them down. Be patient and stay dedicated on the small goals. Then step outside of your comfort zone, and take a leap forward . Utlimately, the small successes will pave a road towards your ultimate goal.

2. Create steps for those goals

If you keep focusing on achieving the end goal, you’ll undoubtedly get overwhelmed. It’s better to focus on smaller goals each month. For instance, instead of striving to increase profits by 120% over the course of a year, you should focus on increasing profits by 10% every month.

 3. Stay dedicated

It can be easy to stray from your business goals because so many different tasks and issues can pop up unexpectedly, but it is imperative that business owners and their team members stay on track. Measuring success helps keep a team’s motivation high, and that is a key component to achieving  daily, weekly and monthly goals. Little wins add up to huge successes.

Always keep your goals in front of you. By writing them down on paper, you will begin to see growth in both your personal and professional life.


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Playbook’s Top 5 Social Media Tips

Playbook’s Top 5 Social Media Tips

social media

We are Social Media Experts

If you are a business owner, you probably struggle with the same dilemma as every other business owner: the amount of hours in the day. We certainly cannot manufacture a few extra hours into the day to accomplish more tasks, and we cannot ask our staff to work round the clock. So, the best business owners figure out how to be most efficient with their time.

Have you ever sat down to check your Facebook and then found yourself still scrolling the newsfeed an hour later? Social media can be a huge time waster, but social media is PR. It is a relatively cheap vehicle to relay and your company’s image and brand message to your target audience. There is no guarantee on this translates into immediate sales, but it effects how people feel about you and your brand. For this reason, many companies have opted for services that automate the social media portion of their marketing plan.

While the automated approach seems great and frees up manpower, it may not be wise. NPR recently tested the effectiveness of having a live person working their social media in real time versus their automated approach. They were shocked by the results. During the five days of manual updating, traffic to the NPR website increased by 45%. Twitter links tweeted by @nprnews were clicked on nearly 100,000 more times than links shared automatically in the previous week. Sounds like a compelling reason to lose the robot.

Here are Playbook’s “Top 5 Social Media Tips.” We hope they help bring NPR type results to your social media engagement.

1. Outsource

The #1 reason for outsourcing to a call center is that businesses do not have time to devote to the task of making and fielding calls. This approach makes sense in social media too. Marketing companies have account managers that are dedicated to servicing their client’s social media needs. They typically use a combination of a live person during office hours and then some degree of automation.

2. Give your posts a personal voice.

Your brand has a voice. Speak in that voice and make sure that your social media sounds like there is a real person that cares about them and the world posting.

3. Separate business and personal pages/ posts.

While people want corporate posts to be quirky and fun, they shouldn’t know everything about you. The smaller the business is; the easier this line is blurred. If you like to “party like a rockstar,” only a handful of potential clients will relate. The rest will be turned off and not want to do business with “Mr. Party Animal.” You also don’t want controversial posts on your company’s social media sites. It is usually better to save the controversial topics for your personal outlets.

4. Respond to all posts.

Social Media can cause PR nightmares, so it is important to respond to your audience’s posts and comments quickly. In order to so this, your business needs a point person who can respond in a pleasant and appealing manner. Put a crisis management protocol in place, so all “hot” topics are sent off to management or customer service department for further action.

5. Automate some of the social media experience.

While there is value to having a dedicated social media team, it may not be realistic. So, you will need to figure out how to automate a portion of the social media time while still allowing for personal connection. Hootsuite is a wonderful tool to help with automation.

What is the bottom line? You need to get personal and friendly when it comes to social media without stepping into the twilight zone of losing time. If you plan out your approach, get some help from marketing experts, you should be poised to navigate social media with maximum effectiveness.


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Social Media Tip: Celebrate Wins

Social Media Tip: Celebrate Wins 

red capThe #1 reason most people “unfriend” someone on Facebook is because of offensive comments. Can you guess the #2 reason? Well, according to NM Incite (click here for more compelling Facebook usage facts), it’s because they feel they are being sold products. Based on this research data, I think it’s safe to say people do not want to see negative or offensive comments nor do they want to be constantly sold.

Most people tend to seek out relationships that are positive, and this includes their social media contacts. Your friends, family, co-workers and bosses (let’s face it, pretty much everyone you come in contact with) are tuning in and checking their news feed as often as they do because they enjoying seeing their friend’s and families’ activities or they are gathering news and other relevant information. You may notice that your social media sphere of influence is sharing things they find funny or important to them.

Your company’s social media account is a way to communicate your brand and to grow your client base. Social Media gives you a chance to spotlight your company’s wins and culture in a non-selling, un-promotional way. It’s PR that has a great ROI.

Let’s take a look at how Red Cap Plumbing sets up their social media posts:

red cap 2

 

 

 

 

In the first photo, their post celebrates their employee, gives him kudos for his professionalism, and pokes fun at a possible inflammatory situation. In the next post, Red Cap Plumbing celebrates their customer. They understand the importance of fun and relevant posts! Their audience probably feels good vibes from the company and will be more likely to support their business. Red Cap has figured out how to interact in a positive way that is interesting to the audience about a service that is essentially, not interesting.

Benefits of Celebrating Your Wins on Social Media:

Makes you look successful – You can celebrate the smallest of victories like Red Cap did for their employee in the example above. It will help you to recognize the weekly achievements as well as the longer term strategies accomplished.

Internal motivation – The positive will encourage sharing and interaction with your employees. People love positive recognition!

Generates press and opportunities – Focusing on achievements will help you hone in on what is worth sharing with the media and press in your area.

Focuses on the positive – It helps you to create a company culture that is always looking for the positive. Positive work environments correlate to increased happiness and productivity within your company.

Inspires other marketing materials – These posts might become the inspiration for other more traditional channels of marketing.

Your company’s Facebook page is your chance to share your brand’s message on a daily basis. Start celebrating your wins and you will see the power of social media.


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Content Marketing: Social Media Style

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-blog-marketing-concept-business-hand-pointing-image35801387Content Marketing: Social Media Style

Whether you love or hate the social media trend; the reality is that it is a part of American culture, with people of all ages devoting time to their favorite social media outlet. Think about it – if you have kids, they are on social media, you and your friends are on social media, and more than likely, even your parents have an account on one of the social media outlets. In fact, the 55-64 year old age group is the fastest growing age group on Twitter. Social media has broadened into every age group imaginable. According to the Business Insider (BI), Social Media is now the top Internet activity. BI reports that Americans spend an average of 37 minutes per day on social media, a higher time-spend than any other major Internet activity, including email. As a business owner, you have an opportunity to use social media to:

a) interact with your target market daily,
b) develop brand loyalty, and
c) generate new business.

So, how do you develop a social content marketing strategy that keeps your people engaged?  Here are a few tips in keeping your brand in the newsfeeds:

1. Use photos.

According to recent marketing research, photos makeup 93% of the most engaging posts on Facebook. Maybe it’s because; the brain processes visual data 60,000 times faster. While website links or YouTube videos might be relevant or interesting to your brand, people aren’t likely to share them. Grab your audience with a photo and they will share with their network allowing you to reach new people.

2. Plan out your top social media outlets for postings.

When developing your marketing plan, you will need to identify the top social media outlets that are the best fit for your company. Social media gives people the illusion of personal conversations so if you post the same info across all your social media outlets, you will lose the conversational approach. For instance, tailor your Twitter tweets to the twitter audience. A tweet includes a shorter message, but with relevant #hashtags and interaction with key people interested in your content. Also, since the newsfeed shifts so quickly, you can re-post a blog link several times, but try that on Facebook and people will be turned off.

3. Blog

Did you know that B2b companies that blog generate 67% more leads than those that don’t!  In fact, it’s so important that we devoted last month’s entire blog to the subject: Click here to read Content Marketing – Blog Writing.

4. Don’t be a robot.

For time efficiency, you will need to automate some of your social media postings. However, there must be a real live person engaging the audience, sharing info, growing the site, and handling any positive or negative feedback. People want to think there is a beating heart behind your brand.

5. Use customer testimonials.

According to Social Times, customer testimonials have the highest effective rate in social media sharing at 89%. The great news about this is that these are so easy to share on social media! Post the positive, support it with a picture, and you just graduated from PR101!

Let’s face it; it’s a full time job keeping up with content marketing. We will develop a content marketing playbook for you,and track metrics to support its effectiveness. Because we are a small firm we can shift the plan based on results, and find deep engagement with you target audience. The potential of content marketing via social media is endless. Isn’t it time you tested the waters?

Let Us Create A Winning Playbook For Your Business