Category

Marketing

Fourth Quarter Marketing in a Pandemic

By Marketing

We’ve made it to fall and the pandemic rages on. Your business has adapted and now it’s time to start fourth quarter marketing, and a look into 2021.

  1. Look at the numbers. I know it’s hard, and it’s not pretty, but take a look at where you are so you are clear on your goals for the last three months of this year.
  2. Your business has changed. What have you learned? What is working? What isn’t? Decide what other changes you need to make before the start of the new year.
  3. What will you spend to support the marketing and communications of your business. 5% of your operating budget is the absolute minimum. 15% is recommended.
  4. Appreciate your customers. The people who stuck with you through this difficult time should hear from you. It’s not too early to make your holiday list and a plan for gifts and cards. Read how to note the holidays professionally.
  5. Ask your staff and customers what THEY would like to see from you next year. Their answers may be surprising.

— Marijean

COVID-19: Time for Pull, Not Push Marketing

By Crisis Communications, Marketing

Like me, you have gotten dozens if not hundreds of emails that start, “Out of an abundance of caution,” and go on to tell you about closings, changes in operation, care for employees, etc.  all in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Please stop email marketing. Now is not the time for push marketing.

As people all over the world are adjusting to stressful work-from-home situations, adapting to kids who are out of school and daycare, coping with potential unemployment, it’s critical for their email communication to have space for them to see the most important updates about, for example, local news, their healthcare, their employment, or other basic needs being met.

It is not the time for a luxury shoe brand to let me know how they are adapting to COVID-19.

What do to instead

Naturally, your business still needs to let people know what’s going on, especially in the case of changes, and that’s when we recommend changing to a PULL vs. a PUSH method of marketing. That is, publish your message very clearly on your own website and your social media platforms so that your audience can FIND the information when they need it. Use keywords so the content is searchable.

Please stay in your lane, focus on how you can continue doing what you do best, allowing people to quickly get the information they need the most, and find yours when they’re curious.

How to Note the Holidays Professionally

By Marketing

Happy holidays! I know it seems a tad early, but it’s the right time to get rolling on any plans you may have as a business, to celebrate the season. If you send out a card or purchase gifts for clients, there’s limited time to update your list and make sure all your names and addresses are correct.

Our favorite end-of-year mail comes from clients, vendors, and partners with a personalized touch. Cards that reflect the company’s brand are delightful. Handwritten notes are extra-special. Work with a design partner to get the look of your holiday message just right. While we like a whimsical approach, don’t stray too far from a professional look, or from your brand. The recipient should be able to recognize pretty quickly who has sent a holiday greeting!

Gifts can be expensive, so we get it if you skip the gift altogether. Some clients, however, certainly rate a gift of food or other thoughtful treat. Remember if you’re going the food route, there should be enough to spread around to all employees. (A client told me about the dozens of fruit baskets they receive from their various clients and vendors and invited me to make off with one when I visit in December. It’s worth noting: maybe fruit baskets are too often given. If you’re considering that this year, take a more creative approach.)

Do you have a typical plan for tackling the holidays? We hope you do.

Branding — a Client-Driven Brand Refresh for the REALTORS Association

By Marketing

We are fortunate to have had a long-term relationship with our area REALTORS®  association. They don’t need us all the time, but sometimes there’s a project, or a training, or a one-time PR or communications need we can jump in and provide. We were excited when the CAAR team told us they were looking for an update to language about what the association offers, i.e. messaging, and a new brand identity to support that messaging. We pulled in graphic design partner Yellowfish to collaborate and exceed our client’s expectations.

The messaging that resonated with the group is:

CAAR is Your Gateway to More

  • Knowledge
  • Influence
  • Solutions

Knowledge builds more credibility, business, and revenue. Influence results from collaboration among REALTORS®, local government, and community.
Solutions and tools  keep you indispensable.

Once we gained consensus from a group of association leaders, we could move into the design phase, creating the logo, and other graphic representations to use in social media, in print, and on large banners.

Our client, Ali DiGuardo, CAAR’s director of marketing and communications had this to say: “We are extremely pleased with the logo and associated marketing pieces. We originally showcased the logo, value proposition, proof points, and imagery during our June General Membership Meeting, and have received great feedback from members. The new logo is a true representation of CAAR and how it supports its membership of over 1,000 REALTORS® and 400 support staff and affiliates.”

It was a fun project and a great collaborative effort. It’s great to see our work come to life in a popular local brand.

 

The Importance of Asking for What you Want

By Marketing, Public Relations

In 2010, after working remotely from Virginia for a firm in St. Louis for five years, I decided I just couldn’t do it anymore. The flights, often delayed, once a month back to Missouri, the isolation of being the only person on the team not in St. Louis, and the lack of control over the client work had taken a toll. I knew I could continue my local client work as an independent and began to consider opening my own firm.

There was one big problem. Like most people working for PR firms and agencies, I had signed a non-compete agreement stating that the clients belonged to the firm. Most such agreements require a one-year period in which the former employee steer clear of the firm’s clients. I was prepared to do this, if necessary, but hoped it wouldn’t be.

Since I moved to Charlottesville, every local client I’d gained had a relationship with just me. They knew other members of the firm a little bit, but I was the one who met with the clients regularly, who corresponded with them, and provided the bulk of the deliverables. If I left the firm, who would continue to take care of those clients?

I took a deep breath and I asked my boss to be released from my non-compete. I asked to take my clients with me, allowing me to start my own business. I promised to continue to serve other clients as a subcontractor to the firm and to ease transition.

It was a crazy thing to propose.

But she said yes. That client work gave Jaggers Communications a healthy start. Clients said they didn’t care to what account they wrote their checks, all they knew is they wanted to continue working with me.

Just ask.