I remember leaving my high school campus during lunch and driving to the local A&W for their awesome corn dogs. I also remember very vividly the day the manager changed and the corn dogs became soggy. The high school crowd quickly stopped going there. Growing up in a small town, if you had a bad experience at a small business the news spread quickly and there was a good chance that you and your friends wouldn’t be going back to that business anytime soon. Small towns epitomize the good and the bad of word of mouth marketing. [Read more…]
Small town marketing can be tough, particularly when you are marketing a small town within the small town.
How do you appease everyone? How do you reach consensus? Something as simple as a Visitor Guide cover shouldn’t be too big of a deal, but it became an issue at our Chamber board meeting recently and “Crowdsourcing” came to the rescue.
Months ago our Marketing Committee chose the background photo of our new website as the cover for our 2012 Visitor Guide. We figured the cohesive look would help with branding. The company that is producing the guide for us came to town to sell ads for the book. They used what the Marketing Committee designed in their sales piece.
A Little Marketing History
In 2003 and 2007 our area suffered major forest fires. Needless to say, everyone that lives here is nervous about fires. The picture that we chose to be the background of our website, www.lakearrowhead.net, is a beautiful sunset over the lake with golds and yellows. When we first chose it the Marketing Committee discussed it to death. We were mindful of looking like the area was on fire but also posed the question:
“Since we have had forest fires in the past, does that mean that we should never show another sunrise or sunset of the area just in case someone equates it to fires?”
As a committee we felt that the fires were not first and foremost in our visitor’s minds and to go ahead and use the photo for both the website and the Visitor’s Guide. All systems were go…..until…
One Voice Stopped Everything
At our board meeting, again after months of things being in place, one member stated that she didn’t like the shot as someone mentioned to her it looked like we were on fire. Another board member mentioned that she might have a point and everything ground to a halt. To say I was frustrated is an understatement. I went home that night mulling everything over and then the lightbulb went on.
Crowdsourcing is More than just a Buzzword
This was the perfect opportunity to use Crowdsourcing for marketing clarity. Did our visitors still think about the fires of 2003 and 2007 or were those events of the past? In my mind, the only way to find out for sure was to ask. So we put up a sign in our Visitor Center asking for input on the photo – was it a good choice for the guide? Our front desk collected data for one week and lo and behold, not one visitor mentioned that it reminded them of our fires . The general consensus was that it was a beautiful picture of either a sunrise or sunset. Crowdsourcing gave us our answer! While we might still be skittish regarding fires, our visitors are not.
Armed with the Crowdsourcing Data
I called a Marketing Committee meeting after the Crowdsourcing was complete. We discussed the outcome and voted unanimously to keep the cover as is. Since that meeting I have met with several board members and talked about Crowdsourcing and the positive outcome it provided. It solidified our thought that the fires were a thing of the past in our visitors minds. The people I have spoken to totally “get” what we did and are thrilled that they now can use this new “buzzword” and once again show how “cutting edge” our Chamber is. Gotta love it!
How have you used Crowdsourcing to your advantage or disadvantage?
In attempting to conquer video marketing, I decided that I needed to buckle down and spend some time learning how to easily produce a “good looking” video. I’ve sat down with first my FLIP and now my Kodak Zi8 and tried to “whip out” a few videos for video marketing – none of which have been very good. And no wonder – there are some things we all need to know in order to make ourselves and our videos look a bit better.
Oprah once showed in one of the editions of her magazine the entire process of exactly how she gets ready for a cover shoot. It takes a team. She has experts in lighting, photography, wardrobe, and makeup all working hard to create what appears to be a natural, spur-of-the-moment shot. For most of us, trying to equal what takes her days and thousands of dollars to produce in our own homes is impossible! But that doesn’t mean we can’t make a few changes and strategic investments to help our “natural” self look a little (or a lot!) better.
Here are four tips that I’ve found (and will be working on in subsequent videos):
1. Lighting. When it comes to lighting, more isn’t necessarily better. A ton of fluorescent lighting can actually be harsh and make you appear washed out, wrinkled, and (are you ready for this?) old. The better option is natural lighting. Position yourself near a large window, with the sun filtering in (not shining directly on you – you don’t want to be squinting like me in my first attempt at video marketing here!). Take a few sample snips of video at different times of day, and see what looks the most natural (I have done this at home and know what time of day in various rooms is best to shoot video). Try to film your video at these times for the most flattering light.
2. Wardrobe. It’s all about the clothes! Now, don’t run out to go shopping for a whole new wardrobe, just give some thought to what you’re wearing for successful video marketing.
a. Most video tends to be shot from the waist-up, so keep in mind the neckline of your shirt or blouse, and the graphics or words on your T-shirt.
b. Match your clothing to your area of expertise; if you’re talking about a creative topic like art or design, you can get a little funky. If you’re addressing a more professional audience, say, in the financial or legal field, you’re going to inspire more confidence if you look professional, tailored, and a bit more conservative. If you’re in the medical field, wear your white coat or scrubs. If you’re a personal trainer, wear your gym clothes.
c. Understated is best; you don’t want to distract from your message. Look at what newscasters and TV personalities wear – solid colors, understated designs, and simple jewelry. There’s a reason for that. If you wear a shirt with a wild pattern, it draws the eye away from you to your clothing. While that may, in theory, sound like a good idea, it really doesn’t work. Try out a few different colors and styles in quick video snips to see what looks best on you – and what you feel highlights your best qualities.
3. Makeup. OK Men, you’re pretty much off the hook for this – though there are plenty of on-camera males who sneak in a little powder and self-tanners… Ladies, if you’re used to going bare-faced, you may want to consider using a little bit of product to even out your skin tone, accentuate your eyes, and help you from appearing washed out. Don’t overdo it, (I’m always afraid of overdoing it and still have not found the happy medium of looking natural – generally I look washed out so maybe on the next video I’ll get it right)! Doing a test video or two with different makeup shades can help you decide what looks best on you.
4. Setting. I’ve seen successful videos shot in front of a gorgeous lake view in my hometown of Lake Arrowhead, in a home office, in a kitchen, or on location for a special event. In general, it’s easier to control sound and lighting (and curious passers-by) if you film indoors, at home. Choose a location that provides some visual interest – a bookshelf, a wall of photos, etc. – but isn’t overwhelming. As with your wardrobe, choose a location that is in sync with your area of expertise. A trainer might want to head to the gym. A teacher would be more believable in front of a whiteboard. A cook in the kitchen… you get the picture! Do check the background to make sure the camera won’t pick up something that you didn’t notice – like a massive stack of papers in your inbox or something lying around your home before shooting any long videos in that location.
BUT, whatever you do, don’t let your quest for perfection get in the way of you actually shooting video and participating in video marketing. Do the best you can with what you have on-hand, and don’t delay until:
- You lose 10 lbs.
- Get a haircut
- Buy new clothes.
Do it now! Strike while the video marketing iron is hot (and don’t be camera shy!) and make your mark as a video marketer extraordinaire!!
How many hours a day do you sit and stare at your computer screen looking at social media? For so many of us the answer is “quite a few” to say the least. Are you paying attention though to the LCD quality on your own social media screen?
LCD televisions provide crystal clear pictures. Is your social media strategy enhanced and made clearer by LCD? LCD in social media pretty much guarantees success because when your LCD is tuned in properly, your social media message is crystal clear.
In social media LCD stands for: [Read more…]
Video marketing is something I am NOT comfortable with, how about you? A few days ago my business partner at All Things Social Online, Jackie Ulmer, and I sat down to make a video introduction for a group we will be training. Jackie is a pro at video marketing and I think I have tried my hand at 3 videos total. I speak in front of groups, I’ve been interviewed on TV ~ basically I have no problem speaking to people, so why in the world do I have such a problem speaking to a video camera on a tripod?
Until talking to a video camera feels like second nature, here are 5 tips to increase video marketing comfort levels that I’ve come across that just might help all of us who are video camera shy get better with our video marketing: [Read more…]
You’re on your computer. You’re installing software. Your program installs on your hard drive using the “default” settings. These are the preset settings that allow you to use your software normally. These settings could be equated to the word “average.”
They are common settings but they can be altered/customized by the user at any point in time.
When running a small business, marketing is just about always the last thing on the business owner’s plate. There are so many other things to do just to keep the doors open that by the time the owner finds time to think about marketing, the day is gone, the owner is exhausted and the creative juices stopped flowing hours earlier.
So what happens then? [Read more…]