Be It Twittering or Blogging, It’s All About Marketing

Passionate New York Jets fan. Keen Knicks fan. Spends hours a day on the social networking sites Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr. Imbued of an entrepreneurial spirit — he even dreams of owning the Jets someday.

Gary Vaynerchuk may sound like an all-American boy, but at 33 he is a successful, grown-up businessman who has put his enthusiasms — and his penchant for publicity — to work in achieving 15-fold sales growth in his family’s wine business in the last decade, to $60 million.

He rebranded the shop, which was founded by his father, Sasha Vaynerchuk, a Russian immigrant, in Springfield, N.J., as the Wine Library and began online sales in 1997, when he was still in college. Since then he has steadily advanced his Internet-based marketing skills. His sites are tv.winelibrary.com, where his daily webcast, “The Thunder Show,” has won a wide following, and garyvaynerchuk.com.

Last December, seeking to enhance sales, he offered free shipping and promoted it three ways. As a result, he said, a direct marketing mailing cost $15,000 and brought in 200 new customers; a billboard ad cost $7,500 and won 300 new customers; and tweeting the promotion on Twitter attracted 1,800 new customers… Read more at Be It Twittering or Blogging, It’s All About Marketing – Question – NYTimes.com, published 11 March 2009

Flickr photo credit: respres

By |2012-01-05T07:15:25+01:00March 16, 2009|Blog, Online Marketing|0 Comments

Landlord adds social media to his toolbox

One Detroit-area apartment owner is connecting online with current and prospective tenants. Interested in a place? Send a text for a floor plan

Forty-nine-year-old Eric Brown is no expert in social media. In fact, he doesn’t believe such a thing exists. For Brown, social media is a question of trying new forms of communication, from blogs to Facebook and Twitter, and seeing what works and what bombs. What he has learned, among many lessons, is that reaching out to the unhappiest customers can sometimes not only make them happy, but even turn them into evangelists for Urbane Apartments, his 500 units scattered through Royal Oak, Mich. “When I explain these things to corporate people, they look at me like I have a horn coming out of my head,” he says.

Brown, who had worked in housing for 25 years, launched his own real estate business in 2003, and started to buy up midsize apartment buildings in Royal Oak, a Detroit suburb. He was reading a lot about marketing and social media, and one day in 2005 he announced plans to open a company page on MySpace. His colleagues worried …more at Landlord Adds Social Media to His Toolbox – BusinessWeek, published 9 February 2009

Flickr photo credit: 60 in 3

By |2012-01-05T07:15:25+01:00February 11, 2009|Blog, Online Marketing|0 Comments

The telephone, a cup of coffee & your beautiful face

Old-school lessons in marketing

I was reading a Q&A column today in the LATimes by Karen E. Klein on new business marketing. A reader had asked her, how do I as a new small business owner selling designer hats get the word out about my business. The answer from Karen: “promote yourself online as a fashion expert.” As a small business owner myself with forays into social media, I am surprised by how much Karen’s advice did not ring true for me. Surely not all of the answers to our business marketing needs are now to be found online?

Perhaps Karen was feeling rushed (not a lot of column space for the advice she might have given were this reader sitting across from her in her office). Or perhaps Karen was feeling high on all the energy that Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are generating these days. I know I often do. But, still, I don’t buy it. And were I Karen, I might advise another path.

Hm. Good idea.

Dear ChicHatDesign,

Speaking from old experience in nonprofit fundraising, there are two key principles to live by. One, ask. Two, ask your friends first. While the promise of online marketing will help you grow your business, getting the word out should start close to home with those who know you, trust your work and want to support your success. That means letting your friends and family know that you’ve launched your new business and asking them to pass on the news to their friends (word-of-mouth campaign). That means (re)connecting with old colleagues to update them on your new business venture (networking). That means researching and making appointments with the businesses in your local town or city that could be promoters for your products as distributors or partners.

This doesn’t mean that you should forgo the fast-growing online marketplace. Absolutely not! This plan above presumes that you’ve done some infrastructure work that will make venturing further afield more viable and less frustrating. You’ve taken photos of your products, put together a print and online catalog, and even printed your business cards for those face-to-face meetings with the storefront sellers.

Still, and while it may be a matter of opinion, I believe there are plenty of people who see buying from their friends and from locally owned businesses as much of a priority as buying organic and they are willing to pay a premium for the opportunity.

And isn’t the point of all this social media about building strong relationships? Why start then with strangers?

Tammi

Flickr photo credit: Arend Kuester and a nod to Karen, who does great work.

By |2012-01-05T06:47:36+01:00January 26, 2009|Blog, Small Business|0 Comments
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