Author Archives: John Foley

About John Foley

John Foley is the founder of Grow Socially (www.GrowSocially.com) which was founded in 2010 to help companies with their online marketing efforts, with a focus on social media. These services include discussing and creating marketing plans, strategies, tactics, and goals that align with each company’s needs. In addition to his role at Grow Socially, Mr. Foley serves a CEO for interlinkONE, an integrated multi-channel marketing web solutions company serving the print and fulfillment industries and marketing departments. As Chief Executive for the company, he is responsible for corporate vision, strategic alliances, and technical leadership. He is widely recognized for his visionary approach in designing internet marketing business applications that meet the changing needs of dynamic print and fulfillment service provider organizations. Mr. Foley holds a B.A. in Business Management and Computer Science from Lesley College. He is a member of several professional organizations, including the Mailing Fulfillment and Services Association (MFSA), National Association of Printing Leadership (NAPL), Printing Industries of America/Graphics Arts Technical Foundation (PIA/GATF), Printing Industries of New England (PINE), Boston Business Marketing Association (BMA), and was recently inducted into NAPL’s Soderstrom Society.

Should Your Marketing Plan Be Updated?

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There are goals in every organization. When you began your business, you created a plan. Have you met those goals?

Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if you need to make changes, especially when your business has grown and everything is running smoothly.

Should you be considering a new plan this year?

To determine if it’s time to update your marketing plan, download, Should Your Marketing Plan Be Updated?, FREE for The Digital Nirvana readers.

Please take a moment to read and share this article at http://ilink.me/NewPlan. Do you have any tips on creating a new marketing plan? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

Simple Steps to Successful Marketing

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In today’s modern marketing world, businesses of all kinds have cornered the ways to disrupt and attract customers from one competitor to the next. With information so readily available, anyone can track how a business attracts and maintains customers. Unfortunately, there’s no golden secret to uncover; when it comes to effective marketing in the age of Internet, the only way to make your marketing profitable is to make it pop.

There are many ways to make your marketing stand out from competitors. It is important to keep your marketing and your message consistent across channels and media. So what’s the best way to maintain consistency?

Define Your Business

Defining your business is by far the best way to maintain consistency throughout your marketing efforts. When marketing your print services, it’s imperative that your message remains unwavering in its appearance and overall connotation. If you don’t know where or how to begin defining your business, start with the logo. Your logo is the representation of your company. Choose colors, shapes, and images that you and your team agree will best represent your organization.

When designing a logo it is important to consider hiring a designer. Although this may not be the least expensive option for acquiring a new logo, it is definitely worth the investment. Logos are the face of a company, and represent the integrity and backing of your print services across marketing channels.

Once you are happy with your business standards, the next step is to look at what your competitors are doing, and disrupt it.

Disruptive Marketing

How many times have you heard that in order to make your marketing disruptive you have to change your entire business model? The truth is, you can disrupt the competitive market of your business by simply watching what your competitors do, and taking a different approach. You simply can’t expect to stand out by using the same marketing tactics and techniques as everyone else in your industry.

Taking steps towards unique marketing may seem like a challenge, but when you utilize the creativity of your team and organize productive meetings to brainstorm marketing ideas, you are not only contributing to the success of your business, but to the strength of company culture as well. Throughout this process, encourage your marketing team to identify exactly what it is that differentiates your services from the pack. Is it price, packaging, resources? Perhaps it’s a combination of distinctive factors that make your offerings a noticeable choice for your target audience.

Target Market

The next step to truly making your marketing stand out is defining your target audience. In order to do this effectively, it is critical that each member of your organization has a full, unified view of what your business does. Work together to develop a mission statement and business summary. What purpose do your products and services serve? What is the goal of selling them, and how are they beneficial?

The next obvious step is to answer who these products and services will benefit. This is where your team needs to do online research and listen to the people who are already connected to your business. A great way to do this is by listening to the social media channels your organization participates in.

Get involved in different forums and groups that relate to your company. Answer questions in these groups, monitor conversations, and before long you will start to notice the people who can benefit from your business. Do research and find out who these people are, their job titles, and the companies they work for.

From this ground work, you will find that it is not only possible to discover your ideal audience, but also to begin prospecting and putting your unique marketing campaign to action.

Stay in Front of Prospects

Once your business is defined, your message is set, and your target audience is in cue, it is time to execute your campaign. No matter what tactic or path you choose to take, the only certain thing in successful marketing is that you must stay in front of your prospects. Did you know that the average person is hit with over 3,000 marketing messages a day?

If you want to stand out from competitors, it is vital that you deliver your message over multiple channels and media forms (based off of your target audience), in a consistent and informative way. Don’t overwhelm your prospects with annoying advertisements and obvious gimmicks, rather, entice them to learn more through providing continuous, useful information. You know that you can help your audience, based off of the online research accomplished in the previous step. Now, it is up to you and your marketing team to show your potential customers how you can benefit them.

The Greatest Challenge

With online marketing being the obvious choice, the greatest challenge a business faces is making their marketing pop. Knowing what needs to be done and having the resources to do it are two entirely different things. Many organizations face the harsh reality that although they have all of the weapons in their arsenal, they lack the man power to go to battle.

Unfortunately, continuously reaching your target audience through consistent messaging and content offerings is simply too time consuming for a small or medium sized marketing team. Luckily, with technology advancements, savvy marketers are utilizing online software such as social media dashboards and integrated marketing platforms to better manage the efforts and success of their marketing.

If you have not employed these tools to boost marketing, or accomplished any of the steps, your efforts are at a high risk of becoming lost in the vast sea of marketing messages, which are floating around your best prospects on a daily basis. In order to truly make your marketing stand out, get noticed, and essentially drive sales, it is important that you take the necessary steps to achieve sensational marketing.

Do you have any feedback or tips for improving your marketing efforts this year? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

The Secrets to Multi-Channel Marketing Success

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Multi-channel marketing campaigns are extremely beneficial to your organization as they allow you to get in contact with multiple target markets, where they actually want to be reached. However, creating an effective multi-channel marketing campaign that allows you to reach all of your audiences and grow sales leads for your business isn’t easy. It takes practice, patience, and of course some help from industry professionals.

In order to help you create the “perfect” campaign for your business, I’ve created a list of my top secrets for executing multi-channel campaigns that will allow your business to reach its goals.

Learn how you can acquire sales leads through executing a successful multi-channel marketing campaign by downloading, “The Secrets to Multi-Channel Marketing Success,” free for The Digital Nirvana readers!

Take a moment to read and share this resource at http://ilink.me/secrets! Do you have any additional “secrets” for executing successful multi-channel marketing campaigns? I’d love to hear your feedback below!

QR Codes: What Not to Do

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As I’m sure you’re all well aware, a QR code is a type of matrix barcode that is commonly used for marketing purposes across a wide variety of different platforms. The main benefit of this type of marketing tactic involves the ease at which the customer can use a QR code to find out information. A customer can use their smartphone, tablet or other mobile device to scan a QR code using the device’s built-in camera. Information associated with that code, which can be anything from a link to an app download to a movie trailer and everything in between, pops up on the user’s device a few seconds later. When it comes to QR code marketing, however, there are just as many things that you shouldn’t do as there are things that you should. Here are a few to watch out for.

1. Location

When engaging in QR code marketing, you’ll definitely want to avoid putting your codes in areas with poor cell reception or no Wi-Fi access. The success of QR marketing depends on the user being able to employ a device like a smartphone to access the associated information. If they can’t get cell reception in the area where the QR code is located, you’ve essentially wasted your money. You also want to keep in mind where consumers will be seeing the QR code. Make sure to put it in places where they will have their phones, and they will have time to safely take out their phones and scan the QR code (e.g., not on a highway billboard).

2. Sizing

You’ll also want to avoid making your QR code much too large or much too small. Codes that are too big or too small are difficult for even the most advanced mobile devices to properly scan. Keep this in mind when incorporating your codes on printed products and materials.

3. Mobile Optimization

When it comes to QR code marketing, you’ll also want to keep in mind that your potential customers will be using a mobile device at the time they scan the code. If you’re trying to use QR marketing to drive hits to your website, for example, you’ll want to make sure that your website is optimized to be viewed on those devices. Sending users to a site that looks distorted or that is difficult to control on a mobile device will send a mixed message to those customers.

4. Call to Action

You can’t forget a strong call to action when marketing your QR codes. If your audience doesn’t know how to scan your code, or why they should be scanning it, they will walk away. Make sure to give them a good incentive to scan the code, such as to receive a coupon, more information, or to watch a video tutorial.

These are just a few common QR code mistakes you should avoid. Have you had any negative experiences when trying to utilize QR codes in your marketing efforts? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

[FREE Infographic] The World Gone Mobile

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According to Nielsen, smartphone share in the United States has grown from just 18% in 2009 to 62% of all mobile phones in 2013. And between July 2011 and July 2012, the number of mobile web users grew by 82%.

Did you know that 75% of Americans admit to bringing their phone with them to the bathroom?

It’s time to start developing an effective marketing strategy to target this growing mobile audience.

Start by downloading your copy of “The World Gone Mobile,” FREE for The Digital Nirvana readers.

Click here to learn more interesting and useful mobile facts and to download and share this fun infographic!

Is Your Marketing Working?

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Your business spends all this time, money, and resources on marketing your products and services.

But, is it even worth it?

The only way to tell if your organization’s marketing is working is through proper reporting and analytics. If your marketing efforts aren’t trackable, they’re not even worth doing. It’s time to take a good look at your current marketing strategy. When you’re analyzing your marketing efforts and marketing software, there are certain reporting features that you need to be able to track.

Click here to learn more about the importance of tracking your marketing activities, and which marketing statistics you need to monitor, measure, and analyze to keep improving processes.

Please take a moment to read and share this article at http://ilink.me/Track. What metrics are most important for your organization? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

 

5 Ways Your Print Business Can Make More Money in 2015

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There is a strong market out there for printers right now, so it’s the perfect time for you to make the most of the services you’re offering.

The answer to the nagging question about what print and mail providers need to do to grow their business lies within two simple words: provide solutions. That’s right! In order to grow your print and mail businesses in the age of digital marketing, you must first focus on the services that you already offer customers.

You already have the resources. Now is the time to focus on change and growth.

By following these 5 simple steps, you’ll discover how your business can make more money using the resources you already have available, and be on your way to a profitable 2015.

Please take a moment to read and share this article at http://ilink.me/Grow2015. Do you have any other tips or suggestions to help boost business growth for 2015? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

Making Inbound and Content Marketing Work for You

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Do inbound and content marketing mean the death of the salesman? There’s no doubt that the landscape of sales has changed dramatically over the last few years, with traditional tactics such as cold calling or door to door sales waning in popularity thanks to inbound marketing and the rise of content marketing. This is good news for customers, who can find what they want when they want it instead of fielding unwanted calls. It’s good news for businesses too, making it easier to focus on the customers who are most likely to buy. But where does that leave your business sales force? Is there a place for the salesman of old in the new landscape of inbound and content marketing and encouraging the customers to come to you? The answer is a resounding yes, if you employ some flexibility and make the best of both worlds.

Selling Has a New Face

Make no mistake about it, an important part of content and inbound marketing is driving sales, but in a more connected and less pushy way. Good inbound marketing acknowledges that increasingly more people are looking online for what they want and that your job is to have useful, engaging content ready for them when they reach you. Good quality content and well planned inbound marketing don’t replace sales – they help to drive them. By giving your visitors the information they want, you are encouraging them to do business with you. That’s where inbound marketing and traditional sales meet.

A Warm Welcome and Useful Follow Up

Inbound marketing doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Rather, part of your marketing plan should be to foster good connections with your customers by giving them a strong sense of your brand’s personality and the people behind your online presence. A welcoming presence that makes your customer feel valued is a key part of any marketing, inbound or outbound. As well as in your content itself, consider how you can generate that feeling when following up on leads generated by your inbound marketing efforts. Engaging with customers who have shown strong interest in your content means utilizing your sales force to talk directly to people who are already interested in what you have to sell. By looking at the content that piqued their interest, your sales force can start a conversation that hones in on a customer’s immediate problems, concerns and needs.

Invite Your Customers and Be Ready When They Arrive

Instead of seeing your marketing and selling departments as separate, it’s time to realize that the two can offer each other valuable insight. Your marketing department understands your customers and can craft the content that will invite them to your digital doorstep. Your sales department understands how to qualify leads and how to talk to your customers to hone in on their needs, figure out how you can help, and close the sale. By working together, your marketing and sales people can formulate a cohesive strategy for catching the attention of customers who are looking for just what you are selling, and communicating clearly with them when they arrive. You’ll still be selling, but in a much more focused and responsive way that is better for you and your customers.

What Does the iPhone 6 Mean for Printers?

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As a print service provider, your services help your customers build their business and their client base. To stay competitive, it’s vital that you stay ahead of the game, keeping abreast of changing technology that can change the way you do business and the services you offer your customers. That’s why you need to know about the new iPhone 6 and its NFC (Near Field Communication) technology, brand new for this iPhone model. NFC technology offers your print customers even more opportunities to make use of mobile devices to build stronger and more profitable relationships with their customers, while adding extra value to your print and marketing services.

So, what exactly is NFC, and why do NFC and the iPhone 6 matter to your print business? Click here to find out out in my latest post on WhatTheyThink!

5 Common Landing Page Mistakes and How to Fix Them

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Ideally, your landing pages have the ability to act as one of your strongest marketing and sales tools for your business. The best part about them is that once they are created, they begin the sales process for you. By creating a simple landing page,  you have generated more contacts and potentially more sales leads for your company.

However, throwing together a mediocre landing page with critical mistakes and hoping it will do all the sales work for your company is unrealistic. So, how can you be sure your landing pages are the best they can be?

Start by asking yourself if you’re making any of the following mistakes:

  1. Weak Appearance
  2. Lack of a Value Proposition
  3. Long Forms

Learn more about these mistakes and others, and discover what you can do to easily fix them by downloading, Fixing Your 5 Common Landing Page Mistakes.

Please take a moment to read and share this article at http://ilink.me/5Mistakes. Have you run into any other problems when creating landing pages for your organization? Let us know in the comments below, and we can work together to come up with a solution!