3 Benefits of a Written Marketing Plan

Developing industry specific marketing plans can be difficult to achieve with little to no direction. Just like a business plan gets you set up for strategic growth, a marketing plan serves much of the same purpose. While some may think that you can mix and match marketing methods as you go along, it is always much more efficient to develop your plan of attack well in advance. Your marketing plan should serve as the companion piece to your business and financial plans.

Marketing plans are not a one-size fits all scenario. Your plan should be specific to your industry, as well as your time in the business. It brings you clarity, structure, and most of all - more effective marketing. Here are a couple of the benefits of having a written marketing plan for your business.

Gain Clarity

  •  A written plan helps you gain the clarity you need to expand your business with effective marketing strategies. It takes your original business plan and stretches it out in a way that shows your creativity in a structured manner. As a companion piece to your business plan, it lays out the specifics of your business plan and assigns a marketing task to each area. It also shows you where your challenges may lie within reaching your target market, and how you should address a financial plan of attack.

Track Your Methods

  • A lot of people approach marketing without a strategy. They throw a couple of things at the wall and see what sticks, then get frustrated when they don't see a return. A written marketing plan helps you keep track of what you've done. It gives you a clear view of what has worked, what hasn't, and how much time and money has been put into it. Are you delivering things to your target market that actually address their wants and needs? If not, how do you change that? What new techniques can you use to better serve them?

Establish Company Culture

  • What better way to help your employees learn about your company culture than to have it in writing? Although you may think that you've expressed the core of your company culture and brand values, it is can easily be misconstrued by an outside party. Instead of assuming that employees know how to represent your brand, why not feel comfortable in knowing that they are clear on how to represent your brand. You can even ask for feedback through meetings and forums, and incorporate that data into a working plan for your employees. 

No matter the industry, your marketing efforts should be tailored to fit your specific needs. Just because a similar business has had success with a given marketing tactic doesn't mean that your business will enjoy that same success. It takes time, introspection, and documentation to get together a proven formula for success that can grow with your company.

Don't take chances on missing the mark with your marketing. Contact us today for a consultation on developing a targeted marketing plan for your business.

The Shea story: Branding Mistakes from the pros

Even large companies make mistakes in their branding initiatives. It's a part of business that most of us usually try and avoid. In this post from The Branding Diaries series, we look at Shea Moisture and the mistakes they made with their latest campaign. 

Your 2017 Playbook Simplified

 

The beginning of a new year is an exciting time for us as we take on new goals and new activities. But for some, it can also be overwhelming. In the midst of our excitement, we can sometimes take on too much at one time. It's one of the major reasons why people begin gym memberships in January and fall off the radar by March. Pacing yourself with your business or career goals is essential to your success. Without a proper action plan, we get overwhelmed, frustrated, and give up.

 

  • Evaluate

 

Before you begin to make a zillion new changes in your life and business, take a minute to evaluate things first. If your goal is to make more money in your business, you have to first figure out where you are lacking. Don't go blindly into the entrepreneurial sector looking to scrape up every dollar you see just for the sake of filling your pockets. Be strategic about your money. Before you go out and try and reinvent the wheel, see if maybe the wheel just needs a little oil. You may just need to make small tweaks to your plan of attack instead of changing everything completely.

 

 

  • Information overload

 

Most entrepreneurs today are guilty of this. There is so much free information out there today that it is easy to get confused and overwhelmed with the way we educate ourselves on business. The key is to find a source that best suits you and the way you learn. Just because a business expert is popular with others in your circle doesn't mean that you will benefit from their lessons in the same way. Pick two or three sources of information and study them intensely before you go purchasing additional lessons or attending their workshops and conferences. Study and evaluate them, and compare which source gave you the best tools. Once you've found that perfect fit, then you can begin to invest in additional education that can help you with your specific goals.

 

  • Clear out personal distraction

 

This is the tricky part! If anyone ever tells you to wait until the timing is right to begin a new career or business, stop the conversation right there! There is NEVER a good time to start a business. And if you think your timing is perfect, you are probably in for a rude awakening. Now, no one is saying to be irrational or unrealistic. If your house is in foreclosure and you have mouths to feed, then by all means, take your time with making major decisions. But there will never be a perfect time where everything in your life lines up perfectly in order for you to begin. But you have to start anyway. There is no way to stop the realities of real life, but you can definitely filter out your distractions. When personal problems arise, don't ignore them; figure out the best way to tackle them. Sometimes this means putting off new developments, and other times this means addressing the issue at a later date. You also have to be very cautious about allowing others to interrupt the schedule of plans that you've set out for yourself. You are the only one who can determine your comfort level. Don't allow someone else to do that for you.

 

  • Work Twice as Hard

 

Simple and plain. Commit yourself to pushing harder this year than you did last year. Achieving success is a huge mental battle. It takes emotional fortitude to continue to push through to your goals, and then eventually tackle new ones. Maybe your version of working hard is not the same as the next person. That's okay. As long as it consists of YOU working harder than before, then you've succeeded. Sometimes our goals have to be broken down into smaller pieces than others just to give us that extra push. But make no mistake, no new goals equal new effort. Every single time.

 

 

What are your secret weapons for tackling the new year? What tips do you have for staying on track?

ABB: Always Be Branding

 

 

If I showed you a symbol of a red bulls eye, chances are you would identify it as the symbol that belongs to Target. The same would go if I showed you a pair of golden arches. No matter what language you speak, you would still be able to identify it as the symbol for McDonald's. These are just two examples of easily identifiable brands. It's the epitome of brand success. At some point along the way, you want people to easily recognize your brand and what it stands for. But of course that recognition doesn't come overnight. It takes years of strategic development, consistency, and fortitude until you're a household name.

 

Building a successful brand takes patience and persistence. And contrary to popular belief, you don't start the process AFTER you've already "made it". Your brand is built during the process of "making it". In order for people to take you seriously, and to think of you as being synonymous with your brand, you have to truly live it. You have to become a walking billboard for everything that is associated with your brand....all the time. You want your brand to be (as the young people say) "Lit" (I felt old saying that....Won't do it again).

 

I remember when I first started working as the PR Director for Substantial Magazine. Upon walking in to my very first photo shoot with the magazine , I encountered a young, hungry, and very stylish young man by the name of Dan. Within two seconds of meeting one another we both knew everything we needed to know about one another: We were both serious about our craft, and we both recognized the importance of aligning ourselves with successful and like minded individuals. Although Dan was at least ten years my Junior, I found things in him that I admired. Upon shaking my hand he informed me that he was in school for Fashion Merchandising and that he was going to be one of the top stylists in his industry one day. To which I immediately replied, "Great. You can style my first mainstream magazine cover". From that day on, every encounter with Dan had something to do with fashion. Whether he was sharing new ideas or creating new designs , or simply checking out what I had on and seeing how my unique style fit into the current fashion climate. Today, just a year and a half out of college, he is traveling coast to coast styling for some of the most popular international brands and events in mainstream media. How did he achieve such great success in such a short amount of time? Easy. He LIVED his dreams. He immersed himself in everything that was associated with fashion, branding, and current trends. He created the life he wanted by becoming synonymous with fashion, and the world took notice.

 

 

I started my business with a political science degree and a desire to help people achieve their dreams. I just didn't know what shaping those dreams looked like. I didn't think marketing and branding would be a way for me to help people. I underestimated how intricate of a detail your brand message would be to cementing your business' success. But without a solid brand message, people won't take your brand seriously. So I set out to figure out everything I could learn about helping people build their brands. I read everything I came across, listened to every Periscope and Podcast I could find, and started studying White Papers from major brands that ran successful marketing campaigns. I even volunteered my services for nonprofits and small startups just to get the experience I needed to deliver the best possible service I could. People began to associate me with building communication strategies that helped businesses propel towards excellence. I used everything I knew, and applied it to my business. I gave my clients insight into what they were missing by not investing into their brands. I found that a lot of people miss the small tweaks that they can make to their image both online and offline that can have a positive effect on their brand. Over time, these small tweaks can lead to a big splash in the pool of your niche.

 

Living your brand means making a complete lifestyle change. It means diving in head first every second that you get for even the smallest rewards. It means sitting in the waiting room at the doctor's office mapping out your next big idea, or taking on an internship at your dream company even when you are wayyyyyyy past the average age of most interns.

 

Building a brand takes work, and sometimes more patience than originally expected. But the good news is that there are resources to help you start the process. Start out with some of the tips in our FREE Branding eBook. It's a great way to start small with ways to get your name out there as an expert in your field without feeling the overwhelm of a massive brand campaign. There are no data analyses or complicated flowcharts to give you. Just simple tips to give you a head start on the image you want to build. Download yours today and get started on building the brand of your dreams.

 

For more branding inspiration and business tips, subscribe to our mailing list today!

The Branding Diaries 

The Branding Diaries 

5 Quick Ways to Create New Content

Coming up with great content can sometimes be a chore. During months when you are swamped with your work-life balance, or perhaps in need of a vacation, making sure you are continuing to deliver content is something that most of us struggle with. When there’s a monkey wrench thrown into your existing plans, you can most certainly roll with it and continue to crank out content for your followers. Here are a couple of quick tips to keep the content stream flowing.

1-      Throwback Posts Unless you’re someone like Gary Vaynerchuk, it is probably likely that most people haven’t read ALL of your content. Even if they are a loyal reader, chances are that they’ve probably missed a post or two. Posting a “throwback post” is a great way to re-purpose content while ensuring that your readers get what they missed. Go back into the archives and look at some of your best performing posts, and repost them for your current reader stream. You can even go so far as to rewrite those posts, or do an intro as to why you chose to share that particular post. Add in some new graphics (or not…your choice), and you are good to go.

2-      Quotes Instagram is easily one of the biggest platforms in which you can find quotes.  Some people have even created accounts that are based solely on posting quotes. Take a cue from these wildly successful accounts and post your own quotes. There are tons of apps and programs that allow you to create your own background and use text overlays to achieve this same effect. For added value, it’s an even better idea to use your own quotes from blog posts, magazine articles, or interviews. Take a couple of lines from one of your blog posts and type in your URL on the bottom of the graphic. If that doesn’t work, maybe share a quote from one of your favorite books. Just make sure to give the author proper credit, and even tag them if they’re on social media.

3-      Video vs Written Content Your audience will vary on each platform. You may find that your blog followers don’t necessarily convert into Periscope followers, and vice versa. To ensure that all of your followers across all of your platforms have access to all of your amazing content, convert the content across all platforms. If you’re a person who writes out notes for your Periscope broadcasts, you are already halfway there. Add a little bit more text, and even some great points from comments during your broadcast, and you’ve got another great blog post. The same can be said for converting blog posts. Take the main points of your post and discuss them with your Periscope followers for a quick information packed broadcast.

4-      ‘Best Of’ Posts Blog posts, even when written a year ago, can always be repurposed. Perhaps you have a blog post that did exceptionally well and created tons of traffic to your site last year. You’d want a creative way to re-share that post right? Why not take your posts and compile them in a ‘Best Of’ post? It’s a great way to offer comprehensive information in a specific niche from within your blog. Take a look at your most popular meta tags, and share the top five performing posts with that particular keyword. It will not only serve as a great way to recycle existing content, but also offer convenience to readers who are looking for a complete set of posts on a specific topic.

5-      Guest Bloggers Need a break from cranking out those awesome ideas? Well, you can always hand off the baton to someone else. Having a guest blogger is a great way to show a diverse side to your blog or website. It also allows you to expand your audience with the readers that particular guest blogger may bring. Take a look at some of the experts in your niche that you communicate with and look into collaborating. Just be sure that your collaboration is with someone relevant to your audience.

Creating great content on a regular basis is not always easy, but it doesn’t have to be very difficult either. Step outside the box in terms of content creation, and you’ll soon find that new and amazing content is usually right under your nose.

Do you have a hard time creating and sharing new content? What are some creative ways you share new content?

*This post was originally publishing on LinkedIn.com and was republished for Billingsleamedia.com*

Your Cyber Monday Specials

Cyber Monday shopping is not just for parents looking for great deals on gifts for their kids. It's the perfect time for business owners to take advantage of discounted offers to help grow their business. Billingslea Media is offering a couple of Cyber Monday specials for our followers.

A couple of months back we launched 'The 5 Point Entrepreneur Checklist' at a local community college. It's a great guide for aspiring business owners, or those looking to get their existing business in order. Get your copy today for 50% off!

 

Creating your Sales Copy can also be a chore when you are busy trying to fill product orders. We are offering a special on our Sales Copy for your Holiday Marketing. These one page sales sheets can be easily integrated into your latest newsletters, postcards, or social media campaigns. We feature your products and services in a way that is in line with your brand message, and create a Call to Action for buyers. Purchase your Sales Copy package today for only $50.

 

 

One of our favorite new items is now in our store! In 2017 our founder is launching her Unapologetic Movement, a series of webinars, events, and blog posts that encourages women to grab life by the reigns and create their dreams without fear or hesitation. The Unapologetic shirts and mugs are available for order now, just in time for holiday gift giving! Grab yours today!

 

Grab your Cyber Monday deals today, and get a head start on building your brand stronger than ever!

Balancing Social

 

Social Media can be both a gift and a curse. For people who have built their businesses online, it is the only way that they can continue to reach their target audience. But what happens when the constant posting and updates backfire? Kim Kardashian West has built her entire brand off of being visible at all times. The multimillionaire reality television star is known for flaunting her extravagant lifestyle all over the media. A lifestyle that some say may have contributed to her recently being robbed at gunpoint while in Paris. While Kim is not the only celeb who consistently posts updates about their latest purchases and current whereabouts, she has indeed become a target for people wanting to take advantage of her.

So what do you do when you are an online personality who ONLY flourishes with a lifeline to social and mainstream media? What do you do when grassroots marketing is not an option for you? Well, unless you are willing to suddenly switch careers, the only option is to continue utilizing social media, but with a more refined strategy. Most of us who are avid social media users can't afford to beef up our security detail like Kim, so instead we have to take matters into our own hands. We have to be smart in how, what, when, and why we post.

How

Uploading a photo or blog post on social media sounds pretty easy right? Well, uploading the content is the easy part. Altering the content is what's tough. When posting online, especially on your personal accounts, be sure to pay attention to location trackers. Lots of smartphones will automatically install geo-trackers, which record your location whenever you take a picture. You can easily remove this option in your settings. Once you've done this, be sure to also pay attention to the settings on your social media profiles. These platforms will also record your location and time of posting unless you customize the settings.

What

Be intentional about what you post. Unless your business deals with opulence and luxurious locales, it is not important for you to post photos or videos about your extravagant personal belongings. Not only does it entice thieves, but it also may send the wrong message. If your brand boasts about humility or cutting costs, posting a photo of your new Valentino boots is probably a post that you can skip. 

When

Let's say that you are absolutely, positively compelled to post that photo of your new Valentino boots. The decision to post is ultimately up to you, but that doesn't say that you have to post it in real time. Millions of people all over the world are constantly uploading pictures from their dream vacations or lavish dinners, only to discover a home invasion because thieves knew that they weren't home. You can still post those photos, but post them at a later date. Make sure that you let people know that your home or office is occupied and/or equipped with security precautions.

Why

Think again about your reason for posting before you hit that publish button. What is the end goal for you after you publish that update? Perhaps you actually do want people to know where you are in real time. In this case geo-tracking actually comes in handy. Want to get those last minute ticket sales for your event? Then by all means, add your location and invite them to join you. Just make sure that once you are done utilizing that option, to turn off or alter your location. Some social media users have even installed apps that give a false location to their audience. This allows the user to broadcast on platforms like Periscope with a larger reach, without compromising their privacy.

It's important to research all of the details on all of your social media platforms before using them. Check out the features under the settings to check and see if your location is automatically updated, and go back through your posts periodically to make sure that a location wasn't accidentally posted without you knowing. Like any other good business tool, there are always a couple of drawbacks. Social Media doesn't have to be scary if done properly. It only takes a little bit more planning and effort on our parts to make sure that we are doing it right. And while a security breach can happen to even the most careful person, it is better to put in the effort to ensure your privacy beforehand.

 

Have you ever been the victim of a security breach on social media? What steps did you take to ensure your safety?

Brand Yourself For Success

Brand Yourself For Success

These days, one small mistake can paint a picture of disdain for your audience that can leave you scrambling to find answers. Instead of waiting until something bad happens, why not be proactive about your image? Get a head start on the game and create a Brand image that can sustain even the toughest blow.

Social Media + the Teyana Effect

It's no secret that social media can be a powerful tool in terms of creating exposure. These days just as many people get their news from sources like Twitter and Facebook as others do from mainstream news shows. The hype around events now has a much longer shelf life due to social media usage.


This past Sunday MTV aired their annual VMAs,  where they honor the most popular artists on the scene. The show was nothing short of epic,  having this year's Vanguard Award winner Rihanna performing several times throughout the show before she even received her award. Not to be outdone was the Queen Bey herself,  Beyonce, who performed a montage of songs from her amazingly popular 'Lemonade' album. But the talk all over the net was about Teyana Taylor, the singer, actress, and dancer who appeared in Kanye West's Fade video music video.  Taylor, who recently gave birth to a little girl, showed off her post baby bod in a solo performance that was reminiscent of a combination of Flashdance and Janet Jackson's Pleasure Principle. However,  her unique dance moves were no match for the millions of comments on her extremely toned body. It is safe to say that I've seen at least 8 different Teyana Taylor memes today alone.


Five or six years ago, once an award show was done, it was done. People forgot about the details and started looking forward to the next big thing. But now, because of social media, performances not only go viral, but they also spark tons of other content like articles, memes, and hashtags. Since Sunday, Teyana  Taylor has been a trending topic, and women everywhere are vowing to get in gym and get a "Teyana Taylor body". For fitness instructors and healthy living experts, this is a golden opportunity.  It's the perfect time to pitch their products and services in an effort to help people achieve the body types they want. With the amount of traffic out there this week, it is easy to find people looking for a trainer or healthy living expert. Researching these hashtags and memes is one of the cheapest marketing campaigns one can engage in at this time.


Although already well known in the music industry,  there are apparently thousands  of people who have never heard of Teyana Taylor. But after Sunday night's performance you'll  be hard pressed to find anyone (at least in the continental US) that doesn't know her name. People immediately took to Google to dig up information and find out where she had been hiding all of these years. What they found was that Ms. Taylor actually has quite the bio. Now that she has gone "mainstream" and shown the world that fire that she's had all along, I'm pretty certain that her inbox is  probably full right about now. And with the excess of memes and parody videos circulating, I'm sure we haven't seen the last of Ms. Taylor at all.