Marketing Monday

You’re The BLANK Guy

I was meeting with a client and the discussion was getting off course.

And it’s easy for that to happen. We all have multiple passions and he kept bringing all the different things he wanted his company to do into the discussion.

I looked at him and said. “OK, so if someone is referring to you. You are John the _____ guy. What’s in that blank?”

I think this is a good question to ask ourselves.

So if I’m “the marketing gal, that directs my course.”

But it doesn’t limit me. I can talk about business, about writing, about politics, about dogs… it’ll just tie back to marketing if it’s on this blog or has to do with this business.

You are “NAME, the ____________ person.”

Think about how those fill out, and how you’re spending your time, your money, your energy to get there.



Sometimes, other people might perceive you as something that you don’t necessarily want to be.

For example, I internally cringe when someone says “Oh you’re Nicole, the Facebook girl.”  I mean, I like Facebook and all but I don’t want to be a one trick pony. So how can you overcome a blank people have filled in on your behalf that doesn’t feel quite like you? Here are a few ideas:

  1. Pull back on your marketing related to “the thing you are already known for” and plug other stuff.
  2. Hold an event about the thing you *want* people to know you for.
  3. Ask your best customers who you’ve done other work for to write reviews about that other work on Facebook, Yelp, Google, TripAdvisor, etc.
  4. Offer a bundle/package, putting your popular offering with a less popular offering.
  5. Create a separate company/website that does the different thing you want to be known for, and do both things in a separate kind of way (this is called the ‘can’t fight city hall’ option).

For my own efforts, I’ve done an SEO online course that I’ve been promoting the crap out of. I have been actively asking people who I Wordpress Coach and provide other services for if we can use them as case studies. We built a separate ecommerce business to showcase our abilities related to content marketing and web development.

While I still get “Facebook girl” every once in awhile, actively diversifying (and probably growing out my natural graying hair color) has gotten people to see me as other things, like “the SEO lady” and “the GiftMDI lady.”

So remember, you’re a multipassionate entreprenneur/jack of all trades/complex person, but make sure how people know you is deceptively simple. And with a time and effort, you can change your reputation, at least for some of the people you run into.



Marketing Super Niche Services With Carla Tanguay

What if your customers were both individuals and companies?
What if your service was something not a lot of people understood, let alone realized they needed?
What if you were one of seven people in your whole state who did what you did-so basically any and all local awareness about your profession was up to you?

We talked to Carla Tanguay of Modulations Therapies, a music therapist who makes her home in Bar Harbor, about her industry, how she established credibility, and why, despite the fact she’s been only doing this for a couple years on her own, Nicole kept hearing her name everywhere.

She also dispels some music therapy myths (ex: it is prohibitively expensive, it is only for sick or old people, etc.)

To learn more about Carla and her work:
https://www.modulationstherapies.com
https://www.modulationstherapies.com/blog
www.facebook.com/modulationstherapies
www.twitter.com/ModulationsMT

Marketing Monday: Pregnant Chicken

There’s nothing quite as unifying as humor when it comes to shared experience. Last year, when I was pregnant and dutifully reading pretty much everything I could to prepare for the new baby (little did I know, all that reading doesn’t necessarily prepare you for reality, but at the time it made me feel like I was accomplishing something). Along the way, I found a LOT of blogs that were helpful, but probably the number one find in terms of both helpfulness and hilarity was Pregnant Chicken.

Pregnant Chicken has multiple contributing writers, but there’s definitely a uniform “style” of writing that’s equal parts funny and helpful. For instance, they have a collection of articles on “Scary Stuff” that you may encounter while pregnant or while your baby is still young. Being able to access a sense of humor while still being serious/acknowledging the scariness isn’t easy, but the writers of Pregnant Chicken are able to navigate this balance (and add a bit of levity to things that are typically tough to talk about).

Other articles you may encounter on their blog include “20 One Handed Snack Ideas” and, one of my favorites, “10 Things Never to Say to a Pregnant Woman.” In other words, topics vary from real life tips to just for fun. Another classic is the “No Really, How Big is Your Baby?” Growth Chart, using such comparisons as “Regretful Smurf” and “Chicken Nugget.”

10 Things to Never Say to a Pregnant Woman

They also have different giveaways throughout the year, typically the entrance “fee” is your email address, and for “extra” entries, you have to do things like share the giveaway on Facebook, tagging three people on the giveaway on Instagram, and other things that grow either their followers or the followers of the giveaway affiliates.

What really got me hooked on Pregnant Chicken was their social media presence, namely Facebook and Instagram. In other words…it was the memes.

As I mentioned in a post this fall about the loneliness of life with a newborn baby, it feels nice to know that other people are going through/have gone through the same thing you’re going through (it’s also a bit of a sanity check). It was a bit of a relief to see memes that were so relatable, and funny/self-deprecating- it made me think, “Okay, maybe I’m not totally terrible at this after all.” Topics include all things parenting: sleep deprivation, tantrums, phoning in household chores, diaper blowouts-the less glamorous side of things (because we love our babies, but it’s okay to have a laugh or two at the expense of a child…or yourself).

Any business can benefit with the mindset of having a sense of humor and not being afraid to say what everyone is thinking…. then again, we may be a little biased about that.

How Short Videos Tell You More

Most people hesitate to do video because they are worried about having to create 1) long narratives with 2) high production value.

That said, we’ve noticed a cool phenomoenon: very short videos in places you aren’t expecting them.

I first noticed this while online shopping. When I look at clothing websites, a lot of them have short videos showing how the clothing drapes and moves, which is really helpful. It also helps higher quality items stand out in a sea of cheap clothing websites where people don’t feel the get what they are paying for. Here’s an example from Universal Standard:

Product Video Example From Online Store from Nicole Ouellette on Vimeo.

I was telling a friend about this short video observation and she mentioned online dating websites adding short video formats as part of profiles and she was considering trying it. Of course, this made me think about this:

Really though, it’s daters answering questions, which can honestly give you a lot better idea of what they will be like in real life than tons of verbage in a profile can.

Vine (8 second videos) have gone away and with Instagram allowing 60 second (or less) videos, it might just be that the internet is a big experiment in the ideal length of short videos and what they can accomplish in that time. How short is too short? What kinds of information can be shown that would be difficult to show in another medium? I personally think we are just getting started.



Nonprofits can also benefit from using short videos. This example is from Friends of Acadia sharing the conditions of the trail at the Jesup Path. If you check out their video archive, you’ll find their weather related updates about trails and conditions are fairly short (less than a minute in length). Maine Coast Heritage Trust uses short videos in a similar way. (These videos all use raw footage- no editing, and no one having to worry about talking for the camera).

Wyman’s of Maine (the blueberry factory where Kassie worked in high school) shares a lot of short videos like these, sharing how to make smoothies and other treats using their products. Yes, there is a bit of production with this video, but you’ll notice there’s no one talking in front of a camera, and the editing can probably be done using a relatively inexpensive service.

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in NYC uses short video clips to offer glimpses of the space, discussions with authors, and closer looks at exhibits. Their video archives have a mix of short videos and longer form (up to 10 minutes).

If you have a cool product, a cool location, or a mission that supports cool activities, short videos are a marketing tool that you can definitely use. Short and sweet applies to online video, and your projects too.

Where else have you seen short form videos? Are you planning on using these in your marketing?



Marketing Monday: The 1932 Criterion Theatre

Bar Harbor is a town with a lot of history. The 1932 Criterion Theatre lives in a building with a particularly rich history, which it manages to preserve while also putting on programming for modern times.

Admittedly, I have a special place in my heart reserved for The Criterion after they hosted one of my all-time favorites, Brett Dennen, this past August (it was a really big deal in terms of nostalgia and one of the only things that would have lured me out of the house in the first week after giving birth), but this post goes beyond my own reasons for loving the Criterion.

Community Involvement. It’s always nice to see businesses and nonprofits in the community banding together to create something that we can all enjoy. This winter alone, The Criterion has joined forces with other local businesses to put on various events, such as a Star Wars Costume Parade with Atlantic Brewing during the opening week of The Last Jedi. They’ve also created a Christmas movie series, where local businesses can sponsor a Christmas movie of their choice. And then there’s the upcoming Spectacular New Year’s Eve Carnival with The Barn Arts Collective, an event for the whole family from 2-4 p.m.

Mix of Live Events and Movies. In addition to blending past and present, the Criterion also blends live events with film (not at the same time, of course). These events are separated out on their website. Live events include concerts by local favorites and well-known celebs (Clint Black and David Crosby, for instance), performances (like the Acadia Community Theater’s Christmas in Oz earlier this month), and the occasional visit from the ballet. A list of upcoming movies is also available both on the website and Facebook. It never hurts to have this information in more than one place!

All the information you need, in an easy-to-find layout.

Marketing with a Smile. When it comes to marketing, finding a blend of informative and humorous can be a delicate balance. They aren’t afraid to show their goofy side (see below) which makes for interesting content. After all, you might as well have a little fun with your marketing!

Online Purchasing. This past summer, I went to see two concerts at the Criterion with my mom. For both of them, we were able to buy our tickets in advance online, which made the process super easy. If you want to secure seats ahead of time, make a gift of tickets to a show (or their ticket booklet), or become a member, you can do it all from the convenience of your home (which is especially appealing during the winter months).

A clever thing in their checkout process also allows you to round up your purchase to the nearest dollar to make a donation or give a donation as a separate line item as you check out.

In terms of event marketing online and offline, The Criterion is a nonprofit to take notes from.

 

Marketing a Piece of Cake

I have always had a bit of a sweet tooth. In fact, I’m pretty sure all of my adult teeth are actually “sweet.” Unfortunately it’s not possible for me to physically be at all the bakeries I’d like to (and there are so many to choose from around here), so that’s why I follow them all on social media.

The benefit is that I get to see delicious cupcakes and other goodies on a daily basis, even if I can’t physically make it into the store. Another benefit, which we’ll get into more in a bit, is that I’ll sometimes make a special trip to a bakery if I know in advance that they’re going to have a certain goodie there.

Based on some of the bakeries I’ve seen online, I’ve noticed a few things that bakeries do in their marketing to get people in the door.



Online Order or Inquiry Forms. One simple thing bakeries can do is set up a form on their website to take orders. For instance, if you get a lot of pie orders around Thanksgiving, you can create a simple form to let people know what your flavor options are. You can also use it as a way to filter out what you do and don’t offer (i.e. you only do chocolate, vanilla, and carrot cakes and nothing else) as a way to cut down on inquiries. Obviously, for those that do custom ordering, it’s difficult to implement a form to cover the infinite options, so instead you could do a general, initial contact form so that you know the person is looking for a marble cake for their cat’s 5th birthday. Sweet Sensations Bakery/3 Dogs Café  has a good system on their Specialty Cakes Page.

Galleries/Albums. I remember going to Hannaford and flipping through their birthday cake album that they had on the stand by the bakery and planning pretend birthday parties (…for myself). While it’s a little trickier if you do a lot of custom work, you can offer galleries of your past work to showcase what you’re capable of doing so potential customers can get an idea. For instance, Cakes Downeast showcases cakes after they’re made on her Facebook page.

Price Points & Offerings. Another idea for offering people as much information as possible before they contact you is to create a page of price points and offerings on your website. 3 Dogs Café is a great example of this on their website. For instance, on their bakery page they have a table of cake flavors, sizes, and the prices (with information about how many each size typically feeds).

Marketing Scarcity… “Limited supply” is one way to make people flock through the door FAST, especially when it comes to cookies. One thing that I’ve seen bakeries do (that totally works on me) is announcing when they’ve made something that they don’t usually make, AND letting people know that there is a limited supply (i.e. one batch/one cake etc). It also works as a way to test a new product. For instance, after seeing this cake, I considered driving to Bangor to grab a slice (tragically my schedule didn’t allow it).

…And Regularity. Most places have at least a few staple products that are always available, like coffee, bagels, etc. While getting people in the door for goodies you make occasionally is a good tactic, it also helps to let people know what they can expect on a daily basis. Of course it can be hard to keep up with posting social media while you’re also trying to run a business. A Slice of Eden in Bar Harbor has an interesting solution-by posting their soup and bagel of the week, and anything else to expect.

Speaking of regularity, making sure business hours are up to date on social media is key. Many bakeries are early to open/close, and people are more likely to stop in on their way to work if they know you’ll be open during their commute.

And whatever you do, remember to have fun, like our friends at Mount Dessert Bakery!

Whether you run a bakery (or just stalk them online like I do), here’s hoping this post gave you some ideas… and maybe an excuse to get your favorite carb at your favorite local bakery.

Note: If you are on or near us, Gift MDI has a very useful blog post about the best $5 carbohydrate you can get at every local bakery.