Archive for the 'Creative Marketing Tips' Category

10 Tips for Social Media Management

Posted on November 28, 2017

While having a regular posting schedule is important, many people think that social media management simply involves posting content regularly on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.  Management of your social media involves much more than that if you want to see results.  Here are 10 things you can and should be doing to truly manage your social media.


1. Develop a strategy

develop a social media strategy

Before engaging in a campaign, have a detailed social media strategy in place. This is an outline what you are hoping to achieve.  Is it brand awareness?  Is it driving additional traffic to your website?  Is it to actually increase sales?  Is it to engage readers?  What exactly are you trying to do?  Once you have made this determination, the rest of the planning will come easy.

2. Update your branding

Review your branding and make sure it is clear and consistent.  This includes logos, tag lines, mottos, colors, type style and “flavor”.  It must be the same everywhere you post as well as other areas such as letterhead, envelopes, printed marketing materials, traditional advertising etc.  Your logo should be your profile photo.

3. Create a monthly calendar

Instead of posting on a whim, add some structure to your postings by creating a monthly posting plan list. This can help you gather content in advance and plan for important dates in your company such as sale dates, special event dates, guaranteed sell-out dates and other dates that are important to share with your clients and audience.

4. Schedule posts in advance

While some social media sites allow you schedule in advance, if you use one that doesn’t, consider an automatic posting system such as Hootsuite.  It allows you to schedule posts weeks or even months in advance so even if you are on vacation, your messages will still be posted on schedule.

5. Respond to comments

Make sure you’re responding to all messages or comments from followers within a reasonable time frame. Even if it means simply “liking” a comment.  People want to feel that you are responsive.  You can even create a document with standard responses you can use to copy and paste.  For instance, a compliment response could be: “Thank you for taking the time to share your compliment.  We always appreciate when people take the time to recognize the great effort we put forth to make sure your experience is a positive one.”

6. Listen to conversations

In addition to scheduling posts, Hootsuite can be set up to search the internet for mentions of your company name.  It is important that you chime in to conversations involving your business or your industry that could result in landing a new client.

7. Paid Advertising

You can sit around and wait for people to come to your site or you can draw them to your site by paid advertising.  Facebook has a particularly robust advertising program that allows you to target exactly who you want to connect with.  You will pay for the click of an interested party but if they clicked through to your website, let’s face it, they are an interested party.  The more you pay, the more your ads will be served to others.

8. Run competitions

Although it may not be right for every business, competitions and prize draws are very popular on social media. They can help to increase engagement levels, get more followers and help you to develop an email database. Photo contests such as The Cutest Pet Costume can drive throngs of people to your social media site.

9. Create a monthly report

Check to make sure your strategy is working by creating a monthly tracking report. Look back at how your site as performed over the last month to identify how you can improve.

social media management

10. Stay up-to-date with social media developments

Social media is fast moving, so it’s important that you actively keep abreast of new tools, feature changes, best practices and even updates to social search algorithms.

Promotional Products Speak for Your Company

Posted on September 20, 2016

put your logo on your trade show give aways

Attend any trade show and you are bound to walk away with a bag full of loot. The goodies range from cheap pens to nice ball capsThere are Post-It note pads, rulers, letter openers, paperclip holders and a myriad of other products.

So many logoed cheap items end up in the trash can of hotel rooms and never even make it home from the showThen, there are the practical items of high quality that actually serve a useful purposeThe latest promotional trend is the cellphone holder as shown This practical device cradles your cell phone on your desk allowing you to see texts as they arrive without picking it upIt forces the user to look at the logo of the company each time their phone lights upSubliminal messaging at its finest.

If you end up going the cheap route on a promotional product you are basically making your company look cheap You do not want promotional products to reflect badly upon your company as it is counter-productive and leaves people with a bad image of your company or worse yet, no image as the items ends up in the trash.

Another favorite practical promotional product is the envelope openerIt is of high quality and includes a business card from the person who gave it away Her name and the company name are seen every single business day since not a day goes by without mail to be opened The one shown is a nice heavy duty plastic version that will last for years While many people give away letter openers, may buy the cheapest, most inexpensive version on the market These are usually so small they are hard to hold in your hand and frustrating to use and end up in the garbage like other cheap items Not that there is anything wrong with cheap but there are just so many varieties given away at trade shows that it’s not practical to keep them unless you have a lot of desk space available.

The baseball cap is probably the most coveted of giveaway items However, think about what the goal of the giveaway is Are you giving them the hat simply to have something to give away or do you actually want them to wear it? Look at the two hats shown in the photo The one on the left is a high quality Flex Fit hat The material is good and the color stands out This is a hat that anyone would be proud to wear The hat on the right is of such low quality that even the manufacturer doesn’t attach their name to it It is not a hat that most people would want to wear Spend the money on a good quality premium gift and it will be used day in and day out

In the Transportation Industry? Distinguish Your Brand with Customized Collateral

Posted on June 12, 2015

In the ground transportation business, it can be tough to find loyal customers because, most of the time, people are just worried about getting from Point A to Point B as inexpensively as possible.

Because of this, gaining customers can be hard. And if you do reel them in, keeping them baited can be just as daunting, especially since many will only care about how much your services cost. So before they decide to take their business elsewhere, how can you keep you them?

One way to differentiate your transportation company from your competitors is by launching a diverse, targeted collateral marketing campaign—one with branded business cards, post cards, brochures and more. In doing so, you help build brand awareness and put your company’s name in the minds of people who will one day need your services.

But you’re in the business of getting people from one place to another place—you’re not a marketer.

Don’t sweat it.

Angel Limo Brochure (PDF)With nearly three decades of experience providing luxury ground transportation services, tour companies and black car services with high-quality marketing collateral, we at Create-A-Card know the transportation industry inside and out. As members of many organizations and associations — like the National Limousine Association, the Minority Limousine Operators of America and the Greater California LiveryAssociation, to name a few—we follow all of the trends and latest happenings of the industry and know what marketing strategies work.

Whether you’re looking to re-brand your company, spread the word about what kind of services you offer or just get your logo out there, we’re confident that we’ll help find the solution you’re looking for to grow your business. Download our current brochure (PDF).

In this industry, it’s tough to keep loyalty. Let us help you get more people to know your brand and that you’re out there to help better their lives.

We look forward to helping you tell your story, so contact us today.

The Way to a Customer’s Heart is Through Their Smartphone…

Posted on August 2, 2012

A recent article in Travel Weekly, the largest of the travel trade publications, discusses travel bookings made via smartphone.

According to the article by Danny King, new research suggests that U.S. travel bookings through smartphones may have doubled in the past year, as more travelers buy the devices and more suppliers and travel intermediaries produce a broader range of travel apps.

Almost 40% of the smartphone users surveyed by Atmosphere Research Group said that they intended to use their mobile device to book a hotel stay, while 27% indicated a willingness to use their mobile devices to buy airline tickets.

“More than a third of online travelers are interested in actually sealing the deal [through mobile devices],” said Jeffrey Breen, president and co-founder of Atmosphere Research Group. “Those numbers are only going to increase.”

The article clearly points out that the survey indicated that smartphone owners are still more likely to use the devices to perform same-day travel activities, including restaurant reservations and buying theatre tickets.  We are sure that “ground transportation” was not included in the survey – as an industry, we need a concerted effort to build more visibility in the travel trade press.

Why? At stake is what’s expected to be a growing chunk of the expanding U.S. online travel market.  Annual U.S. online leisure bookings, which account for about 40% of total bookings, will jump to about $124 billion in 2012, from $109 billion last year, another industry research company, PhoCusWright, predicted in a report released last November.

The takeaway of this article is that suppliers – including ground transportation/limo companies have a real opportunity to boost reservations through mobile devices by appealing to their loyalty members (you do have a frequent ride program, right?) and having a smartphone booking application readily available to provide to your customers.

There are a ton of surprises to come with new technologies that are coming to market and there is going to be a tremendous effect on operators and other travel vendors as time goes on.  “Disruptive technologies” are changing behaviors and preferences for both the leisure and corporate traveler and those companies that embrace technology will be far better off in the future.

Please visit www.thelimousineapp.com to see the smartphone app that is available to operators.

Industry’s Powerhouse Marketing Company, Create-A-Card, Inc. becomes the largest full-service traditional and digital marketing company with its acquisition of Innovative Marketing Concepts

Posted on March 7, 2012

[March 7, 2012, St. James, NY] — Create-A-Card, Inc.’s Founder and President, Arthur Messina announced today that his company has acquired its long-time competitor, Innovative Marketing Concepts (IMC).  This acquisition enables Create-A-Card to further advance its position as the pinnacle of global marketing in the chauffeured transportation industry.

According to Mr. Messina, the acquisition will fuel what has already been exceptional business growth in revenue and market share. “This acquisition is just a part of Create-A-Card’s continuing expansion,” he said.  “With the technology and creative talent of our team, Create-A-Card, delivers the full spectrum of marketing services and support – from corporate identity development and public relations, to cutting edge digital projects and social media.

Already positioned to lead the industry in innovation, Create-A-Card will provide the companies’ combined customers a wider range of services and value.  Create-A-Card brings superior strengths and assets that you won’t find available at any other company.  According to Messina, “This is a great opportunity to leverage our market position to address customer needs in new service segments and technologies. By focusing purely on the delivery of marketing services to the chauffeured transportation industry and always delivering expert advice, this acquisition is a strategic move that we believe will position Create-A-Card for additional expansion and sustained growth.”

IMC brings world-class marketing people and an established client base to Create-A-Card, Inc. and the acquisition assures their clients that they are in excellent hands.  More importantly, Messina believes that combining the resources of both companies will provide an important strategic fit. “We are pleased to have reached an agreement with such a high quality organization. We look forward to the positive sales and earnings contributions that this acquisition affords now and in the years ahead,” said Messina.  IMC feels that that this acquisition is in the best interest of their clients and feels that they will have the opportunity to be working with a superb organization.

About Create-A-Card, Inc. Create-A-Card, Inc. has, under the leadership of Arthur Messina, evolved from a specialized printing company in 1986 into what is, today, the industry’s leading full-service marketing strategy and solutions provider. For over two decades, Mr. Messina has taken a leadership position in ground transportation and has built a reputation as an industry innovator and the preferred partner for market-leading transportation companies.

For more information, please visit the www.createacardinc.com company website, follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook, or contact Arthur Messina @ 631-584-2273.

It’s all about Branding…

Posted on October 21, 2011

I have included a great overview, below, that initially appeared in Bloomberg Business Week.

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -

Define your brand identity—your product’s “personality”—before you spend a dime on advertising or marketing.

Talk to entrepreneurs about their marketing and communications efforts, and they’ll often use the words “branding,” “marketing,” and “advertising” interchangeably. That reflects the pervasive confusion about the terms.  About 15 years ago, ‘branding’ became a buzzword in the business vernacular, and people still get the words mixed up all the time.

That confusion is unfortunate, because understanding the concepts and how they mesh is vital to every company’s bottom line. Studies show companies that market their products or services without first establishing their brand identities are not likely to achieve return on investment. If you’re spending money to advertise and market without being connected to a brand position, you might as well pile the money up and burn it.

Rob Frankel, a branding expert and author in Los Angeles, calls branding the most misunderstood concept in all of marketing, even among professionals. Branding, he says, “is not advertising and it’s not marketing or PR. Branding happens before all of those: First you create the brand, then you raise awareness of it.”

Your Brand is Your Personality

And while many people think successful branding is only about awareness, it’s not, Frankel adds. “Everyone knows about cancer but how many people actually want it? Branding is about getting your prospects to perceive you as the only solution to their problem. Once you’re perceived as ‘the only,’ there’s no place else to shop. Which means your customers gladly pay a premium for your brand.”

Your product or service is not your company’s brand and neither is your logo or your business card. Your brand is the genuine “personality” of your company. “It’s what your customers think of you and say about you when they’ve left your company,” says Rodger Roeser, president of Cincinnati-based Eisen Management Group, a public-relations and brand-development firm.

Your brand is what your company stands for and what it is known for. “Look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself what you stand for. Go around the room with your leadership and ask them what the company stands for. Settle on one or two brand pillars and build your brand around them. If you can’t define your brand, your customers won’t be able to, either. And the risk is that someone else will define it for you—probably your competitors,” Roeser says.

The Promise You Make to the World

A brand is a promise and branding is the act of devising the promise your company makes to the world. Marketing, is the strategy that differentiates your brand promise from all the other brand promises in that increasingly crowded house called “your category.”

Think of marketing like a toolbox containing branding, advertising, direct mail, market research, public relations, and other tools. “Marketing represents the combination of methods organizations use to persuade their target audience toward some specified behavior such as sales,” says Stephen Rapier, of Glendale (Calif.)-based The Artime Group.

Advertising, Rapier says, can take many forms: print, as in newspaper and magazine ads; outdoor, such as billboards; online Web banners; and broadcast advertising on radio and TV. “Typically, the goal of advertising is to grab attention, create positive perceptions, and prompt response while conveying information consumers will find relevant to their needs,” he notes.

Your Brand Is a Lifestyle

A successful marketing strategy uses all—or most—of the tools in the box depending on the job at hand, Cecil says. “Crafting a winning marketing strategy is challenging enough even when you have articulated your brand promise and is probably impossible if you haven’t.”

If you have not specified your company’s brand, don’t spend another dime on marketing until you do. While everyone’s familiar with megabrands such as Apple (AAPL), Nike (NKE), and Virgin, small companies can also develop potent brands and market them successfully, says Steve Manning, managing director at Igor, a branding and naming firm based in San Francisco.

“A brand creates an image in the mind of the consumer. It says something is different at your firm, something worth more than business as usual. If your firm is a commodity, your customers will choose you solely on the basis of price or getting something for free. If you’ve got a brand, you’re selling a lifestyle and you can sell anything you want,” Manning says.

Who is Your CCO?

Posted on September 21, 2011

By Guest Author, Randi Busse, Workforce Development Group, Inc. www.workdevgroup.com

CCO? Do you mean CEO? COO? CFO? CLO? CMO?

No, I mean CCO. Chief Customer Officer. You do have one, don’t you?

A chief customer officer (CCO) is the executive responsible in customer-centric companies for the total relationship with an organization’s customers. Your company is “customer-centric”, isn’t it? This position is a relatively new addition to the C-suite and was developed to provide a single vision across all methods of customer contact. The CCO is often responsible for influencing activities of customer relations throughout an organization, whether in the call center, sales, marketing, finance, fulfillment or post-sale support. The CCO typically reports to the Chief Executive Officer and is charged with improving the customer experience.

Chief Customer Officers may be known by many titles, however, according to the Chief Customer Officer Council, the CCO is properly defined as “an executive who provides the comprehensive and authoritative view of the customer and creates corporate and customer strategy at the highest levels of the company to maximize customer acquisition, retention, and profitability.”

Over the past five years, Forrester Research has observed an increase in the number of companies with a single executive leading customer experience efforts across a business unit or an entire company. These individuals often serve as top executives, with the mandate and power to design, orchestrate and improve customer experiences across every customer interaction. And whether firms call them Chief Customer Officers (CCOs) or give them some other label, these leaders sit at high levels of power at companies as diverse as Allstate, Dunkin’ Brands, Oracle and USAA.

When companies with CCOs made the decision to establish such a position, it often was because of a mass exodus of customers. However, other reasons included a change in leadership, a desire to accelerate growth, a reaction to a competitor’s actions or a response brought about by rapid growth.

The key role for the Chief Customer Officer is to lead Customer Experience Management:

  1. To learn what customers value and how they feel about your organization and the current experience you provide.
  2. To interpret this feedback and prioritize the most important issues.
  3. To enact change that closes the gap between customer expectations and the actual experience delivered.
  4. Finally, to monitor key metrics to ensure that your organization continually improves the customer experience.

Despite the many successes resulting from the creation of a CCO role, it’s also important to recognize that a chief customer officer is not a silver bullet for a company’s customer experience problems.

A 2009 study of over 860 corporate executives revealed that companies that had increased their investment in customer experience management over the previous three years reported higher customer referral rates and customer satisfaction (Strativity Group, 2009).

Think your company is too small to have a CCO? Think again. Those big companies started small.

Why you should be wary if you offer free Wi-Fi

Posted on July 22, 2011

By Guest Author, Patricia Charla

If you offer free Wi-Fi and your customers use it to illegally download or share copyrighted content, you could be punished as Internet service providers step up enforcement, NFIB warned. “Some people don’t want to pirate music from home, because they’re afraid of getting caught, so they’ll use the Wi-Fi connection of a neighbor or the coffee shop down the street,” said NFIB’s Tony Gagliardi, who gives tips on keeping your Wi-Fi protected.

Please play with the words so it isn’t a verbatim pick-up.  A lot of limo companies are putting wifi in their sedans, limos and buses.  Some of them are even providing Ipads in their cars.

Read the full article here.

Have You Seen These?

Posted on July 15, 2011

These curious little black and white squares have literally been popping up everywhere. You’ve probably seen them in ads, catalogues, brochures and more. What are they and what do they do?

U.S. Postal Service is offering a 3% discount on standard mailings that include a QR (quick response) code in July & August 2011

 
Quick Response (QR) codes

are specific matrix barcodes that are digitally encoded with information that both barcode readers and smart phones can read. The QR code can contain a link to a specific web page (URLs), text or other types of data. A more sophisticated QR code can be used to embed other useful data like videos, music or promotional campaigns. A QR code is capable of 360 degree (omni-directional), high-speed reading.

Most smart phones (as of 2011) allow you to download a free “QR reader” that enables any phone to become a QR code scanner. Beginning in 2011, some phones already have this app as part of its standard software.

Having a QR code in your promotional materials grabs attention, leading users to high-quality, high-value content instantaneously. Skillfully using this tool in conjunction with social media marketing, video marketing or a high-quality (mobile) web site can help companies stand out in a marketplace that craves variety. Many businesses use QR codes innovatively to reach consumers via posters, billboards, ads, etc. to provide information regarding consumer campaigns, promotions and other company information.

QR codes can be a great branding tool. Mobile phone users can be directed to web sites where users can download ads, ringtones, logos, videos and flash presentations. Using QR codes on packaging is another innovative way to advertise products or offer information.

For businesses looking to differentiate themselves from their competition, QR codes should be on their radar. By integrating QR codes and a mobile friendly web site into their campaigns, businesses can leverage the needs and attention of the smart phone user more effectively. 

Let Create-A-Card, Inc, your marketing specialist for the transportation industry, help you capitalize on this unique marketing opportunity and begin leveraging the potential of Quick Response codes in your business today!

Thwarting Waste with a File Format That Can’t Be Printed

Posted on June 3, 2011

Digital documents (made out of ones and zeroes) are a lot less wasteful than paper (made out of carbon-eating trees). To minimize unnecessary printing, some people add a reminder at the bottom of emails that says something like “Please consider the environment before printing this.”

But the folks at the World Wildlife Fund have another solution. This week, they released a new file format—WWF, of course—which is, essentially, “a PDF that cannot be printed out.” Drop by Save as WWF, Save a Tree to download software that will add a “Save as WWF” option to your print menu. Any WWFs you create can be opened by programs that open PDFs—but can’t be printed.

Will you really save a tree every time you use this new file format? Obviously not. But the campaign does provide an effective reminder that a lot of paper gets wasted out of plain old carelessness.