Archive for March, 2009

Relationship Marketing During a Recession

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

Message from Michelle

It’s fashion week here in Charleston, and I’m having a blast each evening watching runway shows with friends, colleagues, and clients. To see more photos from Fashion Week, visit my blog.

Along with the busy social schedule, there’s a lot happening in the office. I’m excited to announce my client Hills of Africa has launched their new website. I had the pleasure of working closely with owners Meredith Hill and Sandy Salle to write optimized web copy for the site. And our PR efforts for Daniel Island Mortgage came to fruition with owner Gary Harwyn being on the local evening news twice last week, and a number of publications around the state have followed.

In other exciting news, I’m busy preparing for a free teleseminar I’m holding on March 31, 2009, with style expert Lee Heyward on 4 Ways to Perfect Your Business Image…Right Now.  This call holds a special place for me as I’ve been working to refine my business image and rebrand my company. We now have a new name, a new logo, and the new website is soon to follow.

Working on the business-image call sparked this issue’s feature article on why now is the time to invest in your business image and brand. First impressions are everything, especially on the Internet where you have seconds to grab viewers’ attention. But having the right image on the web is important now more than ever during this economic slump.

Feature Article

Relationship Marketing During a Recession

During economic slowdowns, companies have a tendency to scale back marketing spending. We think our behavior is perfectly logical: money is tight, be tight with money. However, research shows that a downturn creates opportunity to accelerate growth faster than your competitors. This means right now–this week, this month, this year–is the best time to invest in your business and in your business image.

Consumers and companies alike are still spending, but they are focusing on getting the most out of every dollar spent and on demonstrating their marketing’s impact on revenue.

Whether a corporation or a single mom, buyers are thinking twice about whom they do business with. They are spending more time researching their options–looking for the best value for their dollar and the right company to hire or product to buy. They’re looking for value. And the business image that you portray–from your website to your Facebook page–needs to represent this.

McGraw-Hill did a study of businesses during the 1981-82 recession, and companies that maintained their advertising levels had a 275 percent increase in sales, while those that didn’t had increases of only 19 percent.

During the 1990-1991 recession years, Management Review asked American Marketing Association member firms about spending during the recession. The study showed that 15 percent reported greatly decreased ad budgets, while advertising was somewhat cut by 29 percent. But most firms that raised their marketing budgets enjoyed gains in market share. Management Review concluded that firms that increased their budgets and took on new people were twice as likely to pick up market share.

So what does this have to do with perfecting your business image?

Now more than ever, relationships between customers and brands are critical. Relationship marketing has surged to the top of effective marketing campaigns as a means to keep an appropriate level of market share and customer loyalty. And your marketing, especially online, helps to foster and maintain consumer-brand relationships.

If you don’t put effort into your marketing message, your website and blog, and all your marketing materials for that matter, what does that tell potential clients and companies you do business with about how you conduct business, how you see and value your business, and how it connects with others?

It sounds harsh, but make the wrong impression and you might break that customer – brand loyalty.

Tip of the Month

Findings from the Aberdeen Group’s recently published report, “The ROI on Social Media Marketing,” found that 63 percent of companies surveyed planned to increase their social media marketing budgets in 2009.

To read the article, click here.

12 Ways to Drive Targeted Traffic to Your Website

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

Message from Michelle

Spring is here in lovely Charleston. It’s 80 and sunny, and I’m looking forward to taking my dog to the Battery for a stroll after work today.

Spring is all about newness. A fresh start. As many of you know from previous issues, I am taking big steps to grow my business–rebranding my company, investing in a new website, and trying out new ways to market online. In order to do so, I’m willingly adapting to the changes in the marketplace.

Change can be extremely scary, and it’s easy to fall into a pit of stress and worry when you feel you’re being forced to change. But I’ve learned it’s all a matter of perspective.

It’s not about the change itself. It’s about your actions in response to the change. Change can have many positive impacts on your business and everyday work interactions.

If you are struggling to grow your business, stressed about sales, and worried about the future of your company, then it’s time to start doing things a new way. This issue of Your Business Marketing Solution offers 12 ways to promote your company online and drive targeted traffic to your website. If you haven’t begun doing so, I urge you to read over the list and see where you can start trying new ways to grow your business.

Feature Article:

12 Ways to Drive Targeted Traffic to Your Website

1. Blog for Business: Blogging for business is free and is an excellent way to attract thousands of potential customers to your website, increase your search engine rankings, and boost company credibility. Regularly posting a blog also builds loyal readership and attracts more people to your website.

2. Commenting on Blogs: Posting comments on blogs, forums, and discussion boards related to your target market and industry is a great way to increase site traffic. Use these platforms to post comments, get consumer feedback, and search for industry updates. Posting relevant and helpful comments increases your credibility and lures more readers to your website. After every comment, include a link to your blog or website to increase targeted traffic.

3. Socialize Online: Social media sites effectively integrate your business into the online community and help give your company result-driven online exposure. They’re a great place to post inbound links to your website and are a way to express industry expertise. Social media sites allow you to post recent news, company events, company information, discussion questions, and other useful tools used for building solid online relationships.

4. Bookmark your Business: Bookmarking your online articles, blogs, and website in specific categories on a social bookmarking site, such as Digg, allows you to reach out to your target market. These sites permit you to share web content with others and allows them to vote on it. If this content becomes popular among viewers, it will be voted to the front page of the bookmarking site and be viewed by thousands of potential clients.

5. Utilize RSS Feed: RSS feed allows you to reach subscribers interested in what your company has to offer. RSS feed is similar to emails since they’re both sent to subscribers, providing them with updated information. RSS feed makes it easy for subscribers to be alerted immediately and allows them to click on the link to your website. Using email together with RSS feed will increase your client base and increase site traffic.

6. Post Articles: Online article directories allow you to place niche-oriented articles into specific categories, targeted at your specific market. For example, if your real estate company writes an article for, and submits it under the real estate category, you’ll receive viewers who are specifically searching for your articles.

7. Record Podcasts: The vocal and interactive aspects of audio podcasts are usually more enticing and entertaining than simply reading articles and information from a computer screen. Podcasts are free, and can be used to help people through a step-by-step process, share knowledge fast and effectively, or entertain. According to Pew Internet and American Life Project, about 19% of internet users say they’ve downloaded a podcast.

8. Host Teleclasses: Signing up for teleclasses benefits customers because they’re free and provide useful and informative tips. Customers will associate the information they receive from your teleclasses with your company’s success and dedication to the industry. Customers will be more likely to trust your business operations and products / services, making the buying decision a simple one. The benefits from teleclasses are increased sales, more referrals, a rise in customer loyalty, and increased site traffic.

9. Post Video: Placing videos and audio on YouTube is a great way to get your company online exposure and drive traffic to your website. Video provides a personal connection to customers and allows you to show them how certain services are done, how you work, how the company works, how your product works, and so much more. Developing a video for YouTube benefits your company tremendously.

10. Publish Free Reports and Ezines: Sharing free tips and information about your industry through free reports and ezines can benefit consumers’ lives, helping them become better educated, solve a problem, or change their future actions. Providing well-researched and helpful information to consumers builds customers’ trust in your company, making them more likely to purchase your products / services.

11. Send out Press Releases: Bring your brand name to life with a well-crafted press release. If your business has remained at a steady rate for years now, the right press release can gain your company credibility in the industry, recognition, and overall exposure. These results lead to company growth and incredible success.

12. Place / Swap Ads with Other Ezines In Your Niche: Seek out other ezines in your niche whose publishers might be interested in swapping ads. In addition to, or instead of swapping ads, you could also purchase ad space in an ezine in your niche that has a large circulation. If you pay to place an ad, for the best results, run it for a minimum of three consecutive issues.

Tip of the Month

According to, 41% of U.S. internet users—79.5 million people—visited social network sites at the very least once a month. eMarketer predicts that by the year 2013, the percentage of internet users visiting social media sites will rise from 41% to 52%, with 93.9 million of those users ages 18 and over.