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Some Clever Ways to Shift Event Marketing Dollars

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Photo by Brigitte Tohm from Pexels

by Michael Premo, Content Strategist

Business life has changed quite a bit since March, especially for meetings, conferences, and events. Even though this isn’t a long-term trend, public safety measures will probably continue until late next year. Shifting those event marketing dollars toward digital is a solid play, but there are some more engaging and fun ways to connect with your clients.

A New Paradigm

Few marketing activities rival a good trade show. The value of each one is seen in the return, as well as the relationships made. How do we rise to the challenge of bringing people together without any safety concerns? This has become an entirely new paradigm for engagement, and it has created a lot of exciting opportunities.

Next-level personalization in giveaways will have the most impact. Make sure that you focus on your audience’s personal interests, or else the gifts may fall short. This means knowing who they are and what they like to do. A few minutes on social media should give you a good idea. Let’s take a look at some of these changes and how to create opportunities to engage in fun ways with those event dollars.

 

The Remote Employee

Companies transitioned their employees quickly and without much preparation. Some employees with flexible schedules already had insight into their new working conditions. Others struggled with turning a corner of their home into an office. Enough time has passed that everyone has settled into their new environments.

A swag kit for the remote employee is a great way to reach out and reconnect with your favorite trade show attendees. Some of the most popular items to include your kit are:

  • Wireless Ear Buds
  • Water Bottle
  • Tervis Tumbler
  • Amazon Gift Card
  • Coffee Mug
  • Fuzzy Socks
  • Inspirational Book
  • Pens and Notepads
  • Snacks

There are many more that you can choose from at affordable price points to stay on budget.

 

Active and Physically Fit

Many of us are struggling to stay active and keep in shape right now. You can be supportive of people’s goals by sending a swag kit that focuses on health and fitness:

  • Yoga Mat and Case
  • Fitbit Tracker
  • Water Bottle
  • Sport Towel
  • T-Shirt
  • Waist Pack (Belt and Pouch)

You can also send a motivational book or magazine subscription that will support and encourage your clients as they work toward their fitness goals.

 

The Eco-Friendly Gift

Looking for a more general option? The eco-friendly swag bag should be a welcomed gift for everyone on your list. These are practical, branded gifts that improve the at-home office and make life easier while staying green. It’s a classic win-win.

  • Reusable Straws
  • Market Tote
  • Water Bottles
  • Lunch Bag
  • Bamboo Kitchen Utensils
  • Washable Face Coverings
  • Seeds and Plants

Each of these is a great eco-alternatives, made from Earth-friendly or recycled materials.

The current business environment has given us more opportunities to grow our brands. This is the perfect time to increase engagement and secure loyalty. At Pinstripe, we are experts in building your brand identity. We are a trusted source for the latest in gifts and swag, here in the Tampa Bay region and beyond. We can help you build the perfect gift bags to connect with your audience. Contact us today to find out all of the great ideas we have in store for you.

Here’s Your 5-Step Marketing Plan for a Budget-Friendly Business Reopening

by Naomi Johnson, Life Based Business

Navigating your post-disaster marketing plan might be the biggest challenge for recovery (no matter what type of event occurs). The good news is that you don’t need an enormous budget to make it happen. With these five practical strategies, you can address each angle of reopening without overspending.

Need an All-in-One Solution?

For small businesses that feel lost when it comes to marketing, going the DIY route can feel intimidating. One way to streamline your marketing budget is by outsourcing the responsibility to an experienced agency. For example, Pinstripe Marketing works with your company to develop a marketing campaign to enhance your brand. From there, you decide which parts you can execute and which parts we can, and we divide and conquer. Instead of going it alone, you can rely on the expertise of an agency with decades of experience in brand development.

Step 1: Maximize Your Budget

Not every business has a nest egg to work with for disaster recovery. But whether you need to get out of a tight spot financially or invest in improvements, some cash will be necessary. So, finding the resources to pad your budget is a smart move.

Fortunately, you can boost your company’s cash flow by seeking out small business programs in your area. For example, plenty of government programs provide grants and loans to business owners. Many programs are specific for COVID-19 relief, while others have requirements based on your niche or business status. Some private companies are even offering grants to businesses that apply.

Step 2: Educate Your Team

Overseeing a remote team isn’t always easy. Case in point: often, you can’t see them at all. But online tools afford businesses more opportunities for connection than ever. Still, before you let your team loose with digital platforms and web portals filled with company data, it’s essential to offer specific information.

Outlining online safety tips as part of your remote work agreement is a helpful strategy. Rules like not sharing company devices with kids, ensuring their home Wi-Fi is encrypted, and installing antivirus software can all be part of your contract.

Step 3: Choose the Right Tools

From social media platforms to mobile apps and sales websites, tons of tools can help you reach growth and marketing goals. Narrowing down the options can easily become the biggest challenge for brands that are new to the digital landscape.

Whether you’re moving your retail store online, offering banking clients a no-touch option for deposits, or hoping to earn new customers via a delivery app, the right tools can help you reach your ideal audience. Choose automation tools for business processes, marketing and eCommerce, and even customer service (using chatbots). There are even social media tools for scheduling posts without spending all your time online. Whatever your business priorities are, there are tools to help.

Step 4: Leverage Free Marketing Opportunities

Social media offers countless ways to attract, interact with, and impress customers. Whether they’re new to your business or already passionate about your brand, catering to customers on social media is a cost-effective way to grow your reputation (and possibly your sales figures).

By improving your social media presence, you can achieve growth without investing a ton of funds. Consider steps like creating a Facebook group for your audience, posting tips via Twitter, sharing engaging images on Instagram, or sharing videos on TikTok. While social media does take effort, the platforms are free – and a great way to reinforce your business’s branding.

Step 5: Prioritize Your People

As a brand, who are your people? Your audience and in-house team are equally crucial. Prioritize both, and you have better odds of succeeding post-disaster.

When it comes to charming your customers, you don’t have to spend much, either. Knowing what they want – and empowering your employees to deliver – is a key part of the equation, notes Gallup. Employees who feel empowered are also invaluable to your business. They are more accountable, resolve problems on their own, and enjoy their jobs more, notes Chron.

Getting your business back on track after an economic downturn is a tall order. But by taking cost-effective steps toward marketing and empowering your staff, you can realize revitalization and growth. And, it may cost less than you expect.

Photo via Rawpixel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Problem Solvers: What Do I Do When Someone Gives Me a Bad Review?

by Nikki Bromley, Pinstripe Marketing

Pinstripe Problem Solvers answer your most desperate questions about marketing.

In a pinch? Email us your problem, and we’ll help you find an answer.

“Pinstripe, help! I checked my Google Reviews this morning, and there it was—a one-star review! I remember the client and have NO IDEA what I did wrong.”

First of all, don’t panic. One thing we always keep in mind is to try and “turn it around.” If you can somehow turn a bad review into a good one with outstanding customer service, then you may have won over a lifelong advocate of your business.

When you receive a bad review, you must not ignore it. It’s not going to go away, so you need to take action.

The first thing to do is to respond directly to the review on Google using the client’s name. Be compassionate and diplomatic. Do not start an argument, say anything rude, accusatory, or make any statement that could offend the customer. Let them know that you are sorry that their experience was less than exceptional, and you want to address their problem, perhaps find a solution. Anything less than a calm, composed response can be very harmful to your reputation. Negativity, name-calling and rude behavior are immature, embarrassing, and a big no-no! No one wants to do business with someone like that.

If you remember the customer or client, and have their contact information, reach out to them by phone. Prepare yourself with some talking points. Refer to the Google Review and the fact that you’d like to not only improve their experience but learn how to make the next customer’s experience better. Admit your mistake, if you made one, and apologize. You may even want to be prepared to offer a refund on the product or service if they were extremely displeased, mainly if they had good reason to be.

We all make mistakes, and sometimes dealing with a bad Google Review is no one’s fault but our own. Make good on your mistakes, but also let the world know that you did. Once the case is resolved, revisit the Google Review and address the resolution in another response. For example:

“We are so glad we could come to a resolution, Sharon. Thank you for taking the time to give us feedback and help us to improve our service. We look forward to serving you again in the future.”

This may prompt the client to change their 1-star review to a 5-star review. Don’t count on it, but if it does happen, it’s a pleasant bonus. What you’re doing is showing others who read the reviews that you were proactive in seeking out a solution to a problem with your product or service.

On occasion, you will have a difficult client who is either manipulating you or is hard to please. In the case of the former, if you are shrewd enough, you can beat them at their game. I’ll illustrate this with an example.

We have a client (let’s call them Dave) who has a beautiful 5-star review history on Google. Their reputation is untarnished because they do such a great job at what they do, but they also take the time to address any negative reviews or concerns directly. One day, Dave received a negative review with a single star. Dave couldn’t believe it! He remembered the client, who left the office seemingly happy with their service and no complaints at all. The entire transaction was perfect from start to finish.

The person was a referral from another business, so Dave contacted that business to find out if they knew anything. The business had actually been mentioned in the review, so in a way, they were already involved. The referring business did remember the client, and everything went perfectly. The client had nothing bad to say. Through some research and a direct call to the client, Dave discovered that this person was trying to trick him into offering a refund because they had heard that significant refunds were issued to resolve negative Google Reviews. A small refund had been issued recently and mentioned in response to the initial negative review.

Use this story as a warning: be careful of issuing refunds to clients, and if you do, make it protocol to be discreet. If word travels that you’re known to issue refunds, you may find yourself in a predicament like Dave. When he confronted the client, she sheepishly took the review down, and they never heard from her again.

Bad reviews are not the end of the world. Treat them as an opportunity to improve your customer service and product offerings. Most people who read reviews will take notice that even though you don’t have a perfect 5-stars, you made an effort to provide the best possible experience when things went awry.

Get in touch with us if you have a problem that Pinstripe can solve! We’d love to hear your marketing issues and will choose one a month to respond to on our website!

Marketing Maintenance: Update or Redesign Your Website

website-redesign

by Nikki Bromley, Director of Account Management

Have you been putting off updating your website because you’ve been too busy? Now is the perfect time to tackle that project. More people are spending time online and you need to be prepared for this influx of traffic with a refreshed or brand new website.

We’ve all experienced the effects of seasonal slowdowns or periods of lighter business activities. These quieter business days do not have to be unproductive. It’s a great time to review your website to see what updates you can make. You can also revisit a website project you’ve been wanting to tackle.

Updating Your Website

Have a website professional perform an audit. It’s good to have a new set of eyes on your website, especially a professional who knows the hallmarks of good website design. Whatever your industry, a website pro can assess whether or not your website is working toward your business goals. Below are some questions to ask yourself and things to consider when revamping your website design.

Search Engine Optimization

  • Have you completed an SEO audit in the last year? Take a look at the backend of your website and your content.
  • Is your content being updated regularly?
  • Are your headings and content properly assigned?
  • Are you publishing content on other websites or blogs?
  • How are you receiving linkbacks, if any?
  • Do you have any social media accounts or digital marketing campaigns that are feeding traffic to your site? If so, have you assessed them lately? 

Navigation – Menus and Pages

  • Are the menus and pages logical and easy to navigate?
  • Is it simple to get back to the home page?

Have someone else click through your site. Did they end up on pages that they had no idea how they arrived at? Did they find what they were looking for? You could even poll some customers to define the user experience better.

Mobile Responsive

  • Does the design look and feel right on a phone or is it outdated and difficult to navigate? Can it be viewed on an average sized cell phone?
  • Are the calls to action mobile responsive? The call button should automatically dial your designated phone number when someone taps it. The email button should automatically pop up an email to your designated address when someone taps it. These are just a few things that are necessary for proper mobile responsiveness in a website.

Overall Look

  • Simplicity is best. Large, clean photos should illustrate what your business does but not overcrowd the page.
  • Iconography helps users easily find what they are looking for and breaks up large blocks of copy.
  • Headings (H1, H2, H3) should be used appropriately throughout the website. They are incredibly important for search engine optimization (SEO). Not only do headings help define content sections, they make each page easier to view, because information is easier to find.
  • Clean layouts with little fuss are best, especially for professional services websites. Animations, auto-play music, and other “frills” actually take away from the user’s experience. Don’t make the mistake of thinking “more is better.”

Content Assessment – Copy, Videos, Infographics, and Blogs

  • When was the last time you reviewed your website’s content? Is it still relevant to your business, your industry, and current website trends?
  • Has a marketing professional ever reviewed and assessed your content?
  • Do you have videos on your website?
  • Is there too much or too little information on your website?
  • Is the content broken into digestible blocks with clear calls to action?
  • Are you updating your content regularly? Do you have a blog? This also fits into the category of SEO.

Assess Calls to Action

  • Is there a Call to Action on every page? You need to give the visitor every opportunity to take action, whether that’s a phone call, an email, or an online form.
  • Have you tried AB testing different colors or phrasing for your Calls to Action? This is a great way to make sure you are getting the most out of them.
  • Are your Calls to Action clear? Make sure users can easily understand your Calls to Action. Here, again, we want to be simple and to the point – no fancy language or poetics.

If it’s been more than 5 years since you invested in your website, chances are you will need a complete website overhaul. Perhaps you find that you only need or want updates to a few aspects of the website to get it working for you. Whatever your particular needs are, connect with the Pinstripe Marketing website design and development team. We’ll review your website and make recommendations on how to get it to achieve your goals and win more business.

Day in the Life of a Working New Mom

I love reading a good “Day in the Life” story. I’ve always found it interesting to see how people spend their time, and especially now with the pandemic changing our lives so much. So, I decided to write one of my own to illustrate how going back to work in the midst of a pandemic has fit into my life as a business person, an artist, and a new mother of a three-month-old baby girl.

Monday

7:20am – wake up before the baby to get ready for her first feeding, make coffee, get a glass of water, kiss husband good morning and goodbye as he leaves for work.

7:30am – wake up baby Mila. Sometimes she’s all smiles and sometimes she wakes up on the wrong side of the bed just like everyone else. This morning, I get a great big smile to brighten my morning.

7:30-8am – feed Mila and check my email on my phone for just a few minutes. The rest of the time I devote my attention to the baby. She’s at an age now where she can tell if I’m paying attention!

8-8:30am – Change diaper and put her down for tummy time while I drink some coffee, get dressed for the day. Intermittently, I have to get down on the floor with her to cheer her up and even pick her up – she hates tummy time.

8:30-9am – Play with Mila, get her ready for her morning nap. Today I don’t have anyone coming to help with the baby while I work, so I have to squeeze in time during naps.

9-10:15am – Work on my computer while Mila sleeps. During this time I check my email and get my list ready for the day. The list helps me to optimize my time. Today, I also prepare a statement of work for a potential infographic design client and collect samples of our work to share with the prospect. I spray finish a piece of art and let dry so I can stain the edges later.

10:15am-11am – Mila wakes up a little earlier than usual and needs attention. I feed her, change her and play with her some more.

11:35am – set Mila down in her play gym for some independent time – we all need some “me-time” right? Back to the computer to sneak in a few minutes

11:45am – she doesn’t last long with her “me-time” at this stage. She hasn’t learned to appreciate it the way I do just yet.

11:45am-12:30pm – play with Mila and then wear her while I make myself a sandwich. Read a book to her before nap time.

12:30 – put Mila down for second nap

12:30-2pm – eat my sandwich and work on computer some more. Mila takes a decently long nap, and I expect that so I’m able to do some of my more thoughtful work like write, edit video, and review website changes. I start editing an interview video for one of our financial services clients.

2pm – Mila is awake! Get the happy baby from her bed, change, feed, play.

2:45pm – Time for more “me-time” for Mila. I try to do this a couple times a day to foster some independence and she is actually much more creative at this time too, since she doesn’t have us dancing around trying to entertain her.

3-3:15pm – Mila is over “me-time” so I pick her up, strap her on, and bring her over to my desk. She likes to watch as I edit video or do things where the screen is moving. Today I finish editing the financial services interview video and while it’s rendering I start writing a blog for our website. I turn the brightness on my screen down and try to keep this time to a minimum as I’m sure it’s not great for her baby eyes.

3:15-3:30pm – Mila is starting to show signs of sleepiness so I take her into the dim bedroom and read some books to her. I put her in bed, singing to her as she gives me the evil eye. She does not like being put to sleep!

3:30-4:15pm – Mila takes short afternoon naps, so during this time I check emails and schedule clients calls for the days when I have someone here to be with the baby while I am on a call. Today, I schedule calls with one of our technology clients, one of our education clients, and one of our financial services clients. Each project I’m working on today is different, varying from website design to video editing. Lots of calls coming up later this week! Good thing I have someone coming to help out.

4:15pm – Get Mila out of bed, feed, change, play. Take something out for dinner and prep as much as possible while still entertaining my munchkin. I usually wear her while I’m doing this so it helps if I put on Otis Redding radio or 80’s dance music and dance around the kitchen. This is fun for both of us!

5:15pm – Daddy gets home so I hand Mila over to him, get myself a glass of wine and work on my art a bit. I have a piece that is almost finished so I want to get that one done before his mom comes to stay with us to help with the baby this week. That way I can put this piece in storage to get it out of the way. House gets cramped with 4 people in it!

5:30pm – Mila needs to squeeze in one last catnap before bedtime, so we put her down for this nap now and continue making dinner, I respond to some emails to confirm my upcoming calls and meetings later this week, and we hang out and listen to music while we cook.

6pm – wake up baby Mila – she resists, but it’s time for our nighttime routine.

6-6:45pm – feed and change diaper, sit down at the table as a family for dinner time. Mila is a handful so we put her in her swing next to us for as long as she’ll tolerate it, but eventually we have to get her out and take turns holding her. She loves to be held and watch us eat, particularly daddy. One arm around the baby, one arm to eat with. It works! The dinner table routine is new for us. We wanted to lay a good foundation of dinner time and the celebration of food for Mila and thought it’s never too early to start. Gone are the days of eating on the couch in front of the television. Turns out, we love this so much more anyway!!

6:45pm – clean up dinner stuff and get ready for our evening walk.

7-7:15pm – walk around the neighborhood, chatting about life, our day, the future, weekend plans, how crazy this pandemic is, whatever comes to mind.

7:15-8:15pm – bath time, pajamas, last feeding and story-time for Mila. Our intention is to get her in bed by 8pm, so we’re a little late tonight, but we’ll just have to try again tomorrow.

8:15-9:30pm – mommy and daddy time! We hang out, watch some tv (usually Big Bang Theory or Ridiculousness), and get sleepy quick. Both of our days are hectic, so we get tired so early these days!

9:30pm – bedtime. We are spent. Mila wakes up once or twice in the night, but she goes back to sleep. No more night feedings, thankfully, although a big part of me misses those quiet moments feeding her in the dark late at night.

This is a pretty hectic day because I am alone with the baby all day, but I try to stay organized to make it work. On days when I have someone to care for Mila, I get so much more work done. The days with a caregiver are almost like regular work days, although having a 3 month old baby in the house can be a little distracting at times, even when someone else is watching her. We make it work. My best windows for productivity are in the morning. I’m fresh, rested, and have a cup of coffee in hand.

We’d love to hear from you – what is your day working at home like? What is your most productive time of day?