Word of Mouth Daily – December 5, 2011 – Are You Still Questioning Facebook?

December 5, 2011 at 6:00 am | Posted in Blog | Leave a comment
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Word of Mouth Daily – December 5, 2011

Are You Still Questioning Facebook?

There are still some businesses that ask, “Why should I be on Facebook?” The answer is short and sweet, so we hope this helps.

Facebook, aside from being a way to interact with your most passionate fans and customers, aside from being a way to hold contests, provide coupons, push promotions, and showcase your products/services, aside from being a platform to integrate your web-produced content like your blog, photos, and other social media (i.e. Tweets), aside from being a way to announce events and manage guest lists, and aside from being a way to feature your business’ team members, joint ventures, and partners, Facebook boosts your web search visibility.

It’s that straight-forward.

Facebook is an SEO machine for your business. Of course, you have to be using it correctly. That can be done by managing your content actively, optimizing your custom textual areas, interlinking your Facebook page, and utilizing your key word list.

You don’t have to do it all yourself. Hamptons Creative Group helps businesses get the most from Facebook with our Facebook marketing service and social media bundle package. Start here and Hamptons Creative Group will make Facebook work for you.

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Word of Mouth Daily – November 15, 2011 – $200 Million in Cheese?

November 15, 2011 at 6:00 am | Posted in Blog | Leave a comment
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Word of Mouth Daily – November 15, 2011

$200 Million in Cheese?

Who could afford to shell out $200 million for cheese? The U.S. Government, of course. The cheese we’re talking about here isn’t actual dairy. We’re talking about an international marketing message aimed at attracting international visitors to the country.

Congress put together the Corporation for Travel Promotion, whose first smart move was to rename itself Brand USA. The group is taking to the web with social media, blogging, and a rich website. Visitation to the U.S. declined starting in 2009, and the $200 million in funding is meant to help re-spark interest.

Preliminary messages from Brand USA are, well, cheesy. At least according to some business news sources, one of which remarked Brand USA’s message “sounds too much like a father trying to be ‘hip’ to connect with his teenage kids.”

Read more about this effort here.

Don’t forget we’re on the road this week. We’ll be tweeting and hope you’ll mention us and DM us while we’re on the road. Tweet us at @MatthewIscoe or @LindaMillerZell.

Want some advice on your next $200 million project? Just ask, and Hamptons Creative Group will help you explore your options.

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Word of Mouth – September 29, 2011 – Guest Blogger Sharon Wolf

September 29, 2011 at 6:00 am | Posted in Blog | Leave a comment
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Word of Mouth – September 29, 2011

Guest Blogger Sharon Wolf

 

This month’s guest blogger is Sharon Wolf, Managing Director of QualiData Research, Inc. Sharon has shared so much valuable advice that it’s going to take two posts to cover it all!

Here’s Part One of her generous contribution.


Seven Tips for Marketing on a Shoestring Budget – Part 1
 

Getting Started
It is a mistake to invest any time or money in marketing before you have created a strong brand image that separates your products and/or services from your competition. Your brand image combines all of these elements:

  • Your product or services offering – its features and benefits
  • The company’s unique selling proposition
  • The firm’s logo design and all print and online marketing materials
  • Customer experiences with every aspect of your product or service – from product performance, to solving customers’ problems, to billing procedures, to follow-up customer communications, etc

Marketing on a Shoestring Budget
Once you have clearly defined and created a written description of the brand image you want customers to think of when they see your logo, marketing materials and when they visit your website, for example, you are ready to plan marketing activities.

Here are the first three low-cost but high impact ideas:

1. Write articles for a trade press and volunteer for speaking engagements at professional conferences and seminars. These activities position you and your company or firm as experts and leaders in your profession or industry. The only cost is the time you’ll need to invest in preparing articles and conference presentations. If you publish articles, post them for downloading on your website, send them to clients and prospects and also post these publications on your business’ Facebook page. (see #3)

2. Review all of your marketing materials to be sure that they all communicate a consistent and strong brand image for your company. Invite a graphic designer to evaluate your existing logo, business cards, website, brochures and all other marketing materials against your brand positioning statement. Under the guidance of a professional graphic designer, revise and update marketing materials and graphics, as needed. For advice about graphic designers, contact Hampton Creative Group’s Mission Controller Matthew Iscoe.

This is the only step of the seven steps described here that is likely to involve a financial investment. This investment, however, is critical to the updating of your brand image and is one that typically offers a great deal of value-added to your marketing efforts.

3. Consider setting-up a business Facebook page so that you can invite your customers and important prospects to become “friends” of your company. One caveat – don’t waste your time setting up a Facebook page unless you have the time and people resources to post useful content on a consistent basis or work with a company that can do it for you.

Meaningful Facebook content can include postings of such information as:

  • Industry trend tidbits
  • Brief case studies about ways you helped customers or clients
  • “How-to” advice of interest to your customers – for example, restaurateurs can post recipes, attorneys can discuss popular legal issues, physicians can offer health advice, etc.

The goal of a Facebook presence is to keep your customers and prospects involved with your brand and your company – it’s a relationship-building and relationship maintenance strategy. The same rules for meaningful content apply to the use of Twitter for brand-building.
 


Look for Part Two of Sharon’s Tips for Marketing on a Shoestring Budget in next month’s Word Of Mouth Guest Blog post.

Sharon Wolf, M.A., M.S. is a brand and product innovation consultant at QualiData Research Inc., a consultancy that provides growing companies with business-building advice grounded in marketing research findings. Sharon and her partner, Hy Mariampolski, Ph.D., operate QualiData from East Hampton, San Francisco and Park Slope. QualiData and Hamptons Creative Group often collaborate on behalf of mutual clients.

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Word of Mouth – August 18, 2011 – Back to School

August 18, 2011 at 6:00 am | Posted in Blog | Leave a comment
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Word of Mouth – August 18, 2011


Back to School

August in the Hamptons is high season. But it’s also when many local businesses face a dip in staffing levels. Why? The high school and college kids that make up a huge proportion of summer’s restaurant and retail job holders start returning to school.

So, despite the sky-high demand for service in restaurants and local shops, it’s often difficult to get help. That’s why, too, our summer sports seasons end early rather than continuing through the end of August – everyone’s thinking and preparing for back to school.

As a solo-preneur or small business person, do you experience high demand right when it’s the hardest to find help? That leaves customers in the lurch and with an unfavorable impression of your ability to deliver what you’ve promised. What are you doing to plan for the peaks and troughs in your business cycle? Are you ramping up or gearing down?

We know you’re putting out the message that you’re open and looking for business. But what happens when your ability to serve customers (because staff levels decline, technology overloads or suppliers are short) lags behind surging demand? Or worse, what happens when your capacity is chomping at the bit, but the phone and email are silent?

We’re starting to think about our own “back to school” time – for us it’s the end of the year and holiday season. We’re planning our 2012 course load now. Are you?

Hamptons Creative Group can help you jump ahead of the pack. Look for special opportunities to enroll with us coming in September.

In the meantime, make the most of the powerful networking platform LinkedIn by getting your copy of our special Comprehensive Guide to LinkedIn right here. There’s no charge and it only takes seconds.

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Word of Mouth July 28, 2011 – Guest Blogger Christine Aylward of Charly’s Web

July 28, 2011 at 6:00 am | Posted in Blog | 3 Comments
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Word of Mouth – July 28, 2011


Guest Blogger Christine Aylward


This month’s guest blogger is Christine Aylward of Charley’s Web. Charly’s Web is a children’s clothier specializing in high quality, unique children’s items. All items are handmade and custom designed for the customer. What makes Christine’s success story so amazing (and practical) is that she isn’t focused on the technical social media side of her business. Rather, Charley’s Web is foremost about the (satisfied) experience of the customer.


 

Baby Jaime Photography - Charly's Web clothing

As a former teacher, busy mother-of-three, and stay at home Mom, I felt guilty for not bringing home a paycheck. I am extremely grateful to my husband Matt for providing for our family, but disliked buying his birthday and Father’s Day gifts with his money.

I wondered what could I do?

In May 2010, I put pictures on Facebook of pillowcase dresses that I made for my daughter. Friends asked to buy them almost immediately! Just like that, I had started my own business, and called it Charly’s Web after my daughter. 

One year later, I expanded Charly’s Web beyond pillowcase dresses by offering a variety of handmade dresses, custom embroidered clothes, unique and creative baby gifts, and the favorite of famous and modern mothers alike, bandana blankets and bandana bibs. 

I operate my business the old fashioned way while in the modern arena of Facebook, which allows me to keep overhead costs down and prices low. Carissa Donarummo Photography - Charly's Web clothing

Customer service is paramount. I want the customer to feel welcome and involved. When ordering through Charly’s Web, you are dealing directly with me every step of the way. I help each person customize their unique items and specifically tailor those items to guarantee they get exactly what they want. This customer-first interaction creates a unique garment that will be cherished.

Being driven and focusing on customers’ preferences are still the standard fabric for making a successful business. But using Facebook as a store front connects my business, my fans, and my customers in a way that was never possible just a few years ago. This combination has proven quite valuable, as Charly’s Web recently participated in its first photo shoot with the very talented pair Carissa Donarummo Photography and Baby Jaime Photography. 

What started as a simple Facebook page has enabled me to earn extra income for my family by doing something that I love. I am now able to take them out to the Hamptons each Father’s Day weekend to show how much I appreciate them, thanks to Charly’s Web and my repeat customer base. It has given me the ability to feel valued in a way that only bringing home a paycheck can. 


If you would like to see Charly’s Web’s unique items in person and meet Christine, she will be at the Southampton Summer Fair and Festival on Sunday, July 31st. The Fair will be located on the Elk’s Club grounds on Montauk Highway from 10am-6pm in Southampton. In the meantime, visit Charly’s Web website and ‘like’ Charly’s Web on Facebook!

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Word of Mouth June 30, 2011 – Guest Blogger Tara Ervin

June 30, 2011 at 6:00 am | Posted in Blog | Leave a comment
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Word of Mouth – June 30, 2011


Guest Blogger Tara Ervin


This month’s guest blogger is Tara Ervin, MALM. Tara has spent nearly a year in China teaching while chronicling her adventures and misadventures in discovering the language, culture, people, and beauty of China. Tara shares with us how living away from the U.S. all this time has shaped her perspectives, and how, when facing a new challenge, the reward can be bountiful.


In 2009 I finished a Master’s degree. In August, 2010 I quit my job in the camping industry and moved to China where I now teach English. I live in a rapidly growing city of about eight million people in one of the poorest provinces in China. The number of foreigners has recently grown to about 5,000, one-third of which are Korean.

Living here in Zhengzhou (pronounced: juhng-joe) is an experience that has been undeniably theThe city of Zhengzhou is very polluted, and smog sunsets wrap the tall buildings most challenging in my life, and at the same time, the most rewarding. Here are a few of the things I’ve learned from my West meets East journey.

#1 Know your purpose.

I didn’t come to China to teach English. I came to soak up the culture, learn the language, and challenge myself in new ways. 

Sometimes I feel frustrated by the education system here, but I remind myself that it is part of the culture and that the difficulties I face are opportunities to learn and grow. In this way I can clearly focus on achieving my goals and not get lost or frustrated in the process.

#2 When you need inspiration, go somewhere new. 

Since arriving in China my brain has been overflowing with ideas. I see potential everywhere and my mind has opened to entirely new ways of thinking. My previous knowledge and experience combined with such a drastically different landscape creates a melting pot of new concepts. 

Tara Ervin enjoys a hot pot meal as cultures come together#3 Be prepared. 

In any endeavor, you’re going to face unanticipated situations, but those will be fewer and less overwhelming if you prepare.

I spent a lot of time doing research before I came to China. I learned as much as possible about the culture and proper etiquette. I tried to learn a few words. I read blogs written by experienced expats. I downloaded a VPN and stocked up on familiar medicines.

All of it made a difference.

If you ever have the chance to visit China, I hope you do. It is an amazing country with a striking culture, rich history and kind people. 


Visit Tara's blog China Say What?!Tara Ervin holds a Master’s degree in Applied Leadership & Management from Arizona State University. Prior to moving to China, Tara was the Program Executive and Resident Director for the Girl Scouts in Arizona. She has a diverse range of specialties, from canoeing instruction to conflict mediation. Read all about her experience in China on her blog “China Say What?!” here: http://chinasaywhat.blogspot.com/
 

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Word of Mouth May 26 – Kelly Koepke Guest Blog

May 26, 2011 at 6:00 am | Posted in Blog | Leave a comment
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Word of Mouth – May 26, 2011

Kelly Koepke Guest Blog

This month’s guest blogger is Kelly Koepke, our Sorceress of Syntax who helps us put together our own materials and those of our clients. The topic of her post this month about sharing and collaboration, and how it all works for her. (We missed her during her two weeks in South America.)


How It Works for Me – Sharing Leads to Collaboration
I write stuff for a living — like blogs — as well as newsletters, press releases and websites.

Stuff that other people take credit for. I have zero problem with that. That’s why I write stuff. I use my ability to put words together to connect my need to eat with other people’s need to communicate. Sometimes I write stories for magazines and newspapers, too. Those stories have my name on them.

That’s how it works for me.

I’m writing this as I’m about to leave for a trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. You’re reading it after I’m back. Because, I write stuff on a flexible schedule that meets the needs of my clients. I’m away, and they’re still sending their blogs, newsletters and press releases on their schedule.

That’s how it works for them.You can read more about this trip to see the giant tortoises, blue-footed boobies and marine iguanas in a national newspaper soon. See, I turned down a writing assignment that would have been due during my time away. When I shared with the editors why I couldn’t do the work for them this time, they connected the dots between me, my trip and their audience.

Now I have the good fortune to tell their readers about my experiences, and show them the pictures. That’s how it works for them.

How does it work for you?
Do your customers know the good stuff happening with you and your business? Your success stories may not seem exciting to you because you lived them. To your customers, they are the foundation of your communication with them – sharing, collaboration, and knowing how it all works for you.


Kelly Koepke is a writer, public relations and communications consultant based in Albuquerque, NM. She helps solo-preneurs and small businesses better communicate with their potential and current customers and the media.

Visit kellykoepke.com. She’s also on Facebook.


Plan on Learning More

Hamptons Creative Group is presenting “Making Social Media Digestible” at the North Fork Chamber of Commerce Early Bird Marketing Breakfast on June 2nd. Please plan to join us!

Find full details and reserve space for you and members of your business here.

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Word of Mouth – May 19, 2011 The Summer Season

May 19, 2011 at 6:00 am | Posted in Blog | Leave a comment
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Word of Mouth – May 19, 2011


The Summer Season


How does it work for the Hamptons? This coming weekend is huge for the folks who live and work in the Hamptons because it marks the beginning of the summer season. Our sedate villages will morph overnight into bustling, lively hubs of activity.

Every shopkeeper, restaurateur and delivery driver will be hair-on-fire busy. Because the weekend BEFORE Memorial Day Weekend is when Realtors, rental agents and landlords in the area run around opening houses, cottages, bungalows and barely habitable huts for the influx of summer residents, weekenders and tourists.


And we love it!

During the busy season here, Hamptons’ business owners gear up and staff up – making hay while the sun shines and the beaches beckon.

Do you know when your ideal time or season is for those looking for your products or services? Do you notice a spike or dip on certain days or during particular months?

Being ever aware of when things move around you can help you plan special offers, trigger price increases and bring in additional help.

The Cycle in Your Business

Keeping up with the pulse and rhythm of your industry can be easier when you have long term goals. That’s where Hamptons Creative Group can help. Our Goal Focus Sheet focuses you on the big picture of your brand – where and when your customers buy, how they learn about you and what they need to know in order to say “YES.”

Have you put all the pieces together yet? 

Plan on Learning More

Hamptons Creative Group is presenting “Making Social Media Digestible” at the North Fork Chamber of Commerce Early Bird Marketing Breakfast on June 2nd. Please plan to join us!

Find full details and reserve space for you and members of your business here.


–Technical Changes & How They Affect You–
We are upgrading our email delivery system to better serve all our clients, fans, and followers. On  Tuesday, May 24th, you may receive an email asking you to confirm your subscription to Hamptons Creative Group. Simply click on the the link included in that email. 

Thank you for reading Word of Mouth, Creative Thought Matters, and Potion for Success — all published by Hamptons Creative Group. Please contact us with any questions or concerns.

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Word of Mouth May 5, 2011 – How It All Works

May 5, 2011 at 6:00 am | Posted in Blog | Leave a comment
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Word of Mouth – May 5, 2011

How It All Works

Our theme for May is how it all works. We put all the pieces together to create a seamless branding and marketing effort for you. What perfect storm of ideas, creativity, collaboration and tools must occur so that our clients’ success stories come together?

Start with Outcomes

At Hamptons Creative Group, it all starts with understanding what our final outcome needs to be.
Those are the long-term goals our customers have. Sometimes they don’t exactly tell us, or they aren’t even sure themselves. We tease it out of them with our questions.

All businesses want more customers, sure, but that’s not a goal. That’s a tactic to reach the goal. What they really want is security for themselves and their families – financial and emotional stability and well being. Security comes from the knowledge that the machine that is their business is functioning smoothly now and will continue to do so in the future.

We started at the beginning with those pesky goals, too. That’s why we begin our work with clients with our exclusive Goal Focus Sheet. With this powerful tool, clients finally turn their marketing machine into a smoothly running juggernaut.


If your ultimate end is still unclear, don’t let any more time go by. The Goal Focus Sheet is the step you can take today to clarify it and set yourself on the path to success. And that’s how it all works.

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Word of Mouth April 28, 2011 Guest Blogger Gaile Burchill

April 28, 2011 at 6:00 am | Posted in Blog | Leave a comment
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Word of Mouth – April 28, 2011

Guest Blogger Gaile Burchill

As we wrap up April’s theme of collaboration, this month’s guest post comes from Gaile Burchill, coach and author. Collaboration doesn’t have to be external, as Gaile explains. The most important person to collaborate with is yourself.


Walking Your Talk

My husband and I have aligned our work around our Spirituality. Among other practices, we support clients in listening for and trusting their Divine guidance. And we were not walking our talk.

The guidance was flowing, mind you, but sounded extreme and challenged our seemingly safe and comfortable life. “Asia,” we kept hearing.

I write to you today from Chiang Mai, Thailand. We took the leap and are still listening, nourished by the heart-centered path from which our work can flow with integrity and authenticity, committing to living the life of our dreams.

I don’t know what your dreams are. And I don’t care what your business is. But I ask you, are youWalking Your Talk walking your talk?

Just look: What dreams have you sold out? Where are you not letting in the support you deserve? Are you condemning the circumstances around you? Or are bringing your full self to the table?

And could you, just could you, right now, take that action you’ve been resisting? Call it Divine guidance, call it intuition, call it “the thing you know to do.” You know you’ve been hearing it. And resisting it.

I recently gave up being brave. I noticed I had been “brave” since I was a little girl. It’s been exhausting. To me, bravery was fraught with tension, holding a “stiff upper lip,” and more. Instead, I choose to embrace courage (Latin, from the heart.) This is scarier; this requires me to listen and to trust. This demands that I walk my talk.

And as I do that, I get the benefit – right NOW – of living my dream. And you can, too.

Take heart. Be courageous. Walk your talk.

May the miracle that is YOU shine clear and bright in the world.

Remembrance, by Gaile Burchill and Kenton David BellGaile Burchill is a Master Clearing Coach, the developer of the proprietary coaching system, Clearing for Miracles and, with her husband, Kenton David Bell, recently published her first book, Remembrance: The Keys to Creating and Experiencing Heaven on Earth (available at http://www.clearingformiracles.com.) Her life-long passion is that people know themselves as the magnificent, worthy, lovable beings that they are. And knowing that, they take on living the most beautiful, creative, fulfilling lives they could possibly imagine.

Reminder: Tune in to hear Linda Miller at noon EST tomorrow on BlogTalkRadio’s popular show “Solo Talk” — complete a Goal Focus Sheet and your business could be mentioned on the show.

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