Category Archives: Marketing

What happens in 15 years of marketing ?

In this age of slam-bam, rapidly accelerating changes – a LOT!

Back in 2004, I stepped away from the corporate marketing world to launch my own agency. One of the first things I did was to create a four-color, four- page newsletter to showcase my services.  I had no website.  Not that websites weren’t a thing back then, but most small businesses didn’t have them.

And search engines?  Do you remember Ask Jeeves, Yahoo Search and MSN Old search engineSearch? Google wasn’t yet on the radar of consumers.

All of my work was print – postcards, brochures, ads, etc., and I teamed up with the extremely talented Mary Ann Beane, who continues to do amazing work for M @ W.

And social media? Look at this little gem from the archives:

“Facebook is the second largest social network on the web, behind MySpaceonly MySpace in terms of traffic. Primarily focused on high school to college students, Facebook has been gaining market share, and more significantly a supportive user base.”*

And how about email newsletters – those gems we need to keep “cleaning out” of our inboxes?

The first electronic mail was sent in 1971 by Ray Tomlinson, a programmer working on applications for MIT’s Arpanet project (essentially the start of what we know today as the internet), according to Towerdata.

And amazingly, the first email marketing blast was sent in 1978 by Gary Thuerk who worked for Digital Equipment Corp. His email blast was sent to 400 recipients as a promotion for his company’s computers, and it actually resulted in $13 million in sales. Taking inflation into account, that’s equivalent to about $78.8 million today.

Email still has the highest return on investment per marketing dollar Outlookspent, according to the Data & Marketing Association. And while Facebook, especially, has whipsawed marketers with ever-changing rules about how to reach customers—and how much Facebook will charge for the privilege—with email, a company owns its own lists.

What hasn’t changed; the need to focus on clients and customers!  Know who your ideal clients and customers are, and go after them with a laser-like focus. Describe them, who are they, what are their interests?  Why is your product or service the best option for THEM?

For example:  Marketing @ Work’s clients are small businesses and non-profit organizations that are too small to afford a professional marketing on their staff, but they still need professional but affordable marketing services to grow their businesses. That’s what we provide!

In celebration of our 15th anniversary, we’re offering this free guide “How to Create an Effective Marketing Plan in 6 Simple Steps!”  To get your free copy, click here.

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Awesome Free Business & Marketing Webinars Courtesy of the SBA

Lots of media coverage surrounds National Small Business Week, which is being held from April 29 – May 5. This annual event is hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration to recognize the nation’s top small businesses, entrepreneurs, small business advocates and champions.

More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and we create about two out of three new jobs in the U.S. every year! Many of my readers run small businesses, or work for small businesses, so give yourselves a pat on the back.

This year, we all receive a bonus as the SBA and SCORE Association team up to host a free, 3-Day Virtual Conference during National Small Business Week. The conference will take place Tuesday, May 1 – Thursday, May 3 between 12:30 pm ET – 6:30 pm ET each day.

Registration is free to the public, which is a big deal since even virtual National Small Business Weekconferences can cost $500 – $600! You can participate in all or some of the webinars and have the opportunity to meet other business owners and chat with industry experts. The Virtual Conference offers all the best parts of an in-person conference, but without the hassle and expense of traveling!

Webinar topics include

How Changing Consumer Behavior Impacts Your Business – May 1 at 1:00 PM ET/ 10:00 AM PT
Technology allows you to understand consumer behavior better than ever. Join this webinar by Anastasia Kudrez of Google to learn how these insights Googlecan help shape your digital marketing plan, and what you can do to position your business for success.

• Addressing Discrimination and Harassment in the Workplace – May 1 at 2:30 PM ET / 11:30 AM PT
In this timely and informative seminar from Paychex, experts will discuss workplace discrimination and harassment – including sexual harassment. You’ll learn about employer liability under federal law, as well as the elements required to establish an affirmative defense to harassment claims. They’ll also cover specific policies and procedures for handling complaints, investigations, and retaliation, that can help protect your employees and your business.

email marketing• Get New and Repeat Business On Autopilot with Email Marketing – May 1 at 4:00 PM ET / 1:00 PM PT
Your business thrives on bringing in sales from new and existing customers. Wouldn’t it be great if you could bring in those sales more frequently without having to spend a lot of time doing so? This webinar by Constant Contact will show you some simple ways to repeatedly reach customers with email marketing. P.S. Marketing @ Work is a Constant Contact Partner.

• Creating and Sustaining a Strong Social Presence – May 1 at 5:30 PM ET / 2:30 PM PT
You want to use social media for your business, but where should you start?social Vistaprint’s Sarah Nunes will explain why you should be on social and some easy-to-use tips and tricks for small business owners to improve or create strong social media campaigns.

• The U.S. Economic Outlook and Its Impact on Small Businesses – May 2 at 1:00 PM ET/ 10:00 AM PT
Join Visa’s Vice President of the Visa Business and Economic Insights team, Bruce Cundiff, as he shares the near-term outlook for the U.S. economy including the health of consumer spending, housing prices, and more. You’ll learn how consumer spending preferences are changing, what stock market growth and volatility mean for consumer spending, and what all of this means for small businesses.
• Managing Your Finances in the Cloud – May 2 at 2:30 PM ET / 11:30 AM PT
Did you ever wonder what advantages moving your company to the cloud could offer? Have you ever thought about making the switch but weren’t sure how or why? This session by Intuit will uncover many reasons why businesses are making the move and discuss some best practices in how to use this technology to keep your business relevant and nimble.

• Grow Your Business in 2018 – May 2 at 4:00 PM ET / 1:00 PM PT
Join this webinar by Square to learn how to use small business technology tools to streamline your work and give you back valuable time.

• Simple Steps to Choosing the Right Financing – May 2 at 5:30 PM ET / 2:30 PM PT
Choosing the right source of financing for your business’ growth is more complicated today than it used to be – and because of all the different options available, it requires a more savvy borrower than ever before. Join this webinar by OnDeck to learn which financing options are right for different types of businesses and how likely you are to get approved.

• Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints & Keep Your Customers – May 3 at 1:00 PM ET / 10:00 AM PT
In this webinar sponsored by Chase, Jay Baer, founder of Convince & Convert, reveals brand-new, proprietary research into why and where your customers complain and why the rise of customer complaints is actually an enormous opportunity.

  • Sharing Your Story Through Video – May 3 at 2:30 PM ET / 11:30 AM PT
    Today’s consumers can watch video content whenever and wherever they want. This creates an opportunity for businesses to re-imagine the role of video content in their marketing strategy. Join this webinar by Google to learn best practices for connecting with consumers through online video.

pop-up shop• Pop & Play: How Opening a Pop-Up Shop Can Help Launch Your Retail Brand – May 3 at 4:00 PM ET / 1:00 PM PT
What do Amazon, Chobani, Hermes and a taco truck have in common? All four recognize the magic of the pop-up shop. In this webinar by Kimco Realty, find out how a pop-up can help you bring your brand to life, create a one-of-a-kind customer experience and tell your brand’s unique story to a built-in audience.

• Fusion Marketing: The Next Generation of Marketing – May 3 at 5:30 PM ET / 2:30 PM PT
Award-winning inventor, entrepreneur and author Lon Safko examines this new concept of “interconnecting” your traditional and digital tools. You will look at your marketing efforts in a completely new way. In this webinar, you will learn how to get exponential results without spending a dime more.

And if you’d like advice on marketing your small or medium-sized business during National Small Business Week – or any time – contact me at [email protected], 301-696-8886.

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Four Tips to Close Out the Summer & Kick-start Your Holiday Marketing

1. Wrap up your summer marketing before jumping into holiday marketing planning mode.

This past Labor Day weekend was the unofficial end of summer, and this is marketing plansthe perfect opportunity to close out summer marketing and prime your email list for the fall and holiday marketing season. Use your email as a resource, and not just a sales pitch; give readers tips for final lawn and garden care, HVAC maintenance, fall vehicle maintenance, etc.

2. Develop a marketing schedule to build momentum.
This is really important because it works! Map out the weeks leading up to and through the holiday season with specific business and marketing goals for each of the big days.  Save time and effort by using Constant Contact’s Marketing Calendar tool.

3.  Get creative.

Use email to announce your autumn and holiday plans, to remind people about important dates and deadlines, and start getting your contacts ready to buy.

4.  Don’t do too much, too soon.

Don’t overwhelm people with too many promotions early in the season.  Instead, target your audience with relevant offers when they’re actually ready to shop.  Constant Contact has a great coupon feature to help you create attractive offers.

Need help brainstorming and/or creating your marketing calendar? Contact us today!   

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Small Business Week is April 30th – May 6th

Use Small Business Week to thank existing customers

and invite new ones!

May is chock-full of themes and holidays that you can use to promote your business! Have a restaurant? Offer specials on Cinco de Mayo, National Nurses Day, National Teacher’s Day, Eat What You Want Day, Military Spouses Day or Armed Forces Day!

Marketing your business during Small Business Week

April 30 – May 6

Retail stores and florists could also offer specials on many of those days! National Renewal Day also offers many opportunities for renewal, whether it’s for the body or the soul (weight loss, exercise, yoga, mindfulness). It could also be a time to refresh your home’s carpets – or buy new ones. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination!

In addition to Small Business Week, here are some other May themes:

  • Military Appreciation Month
  • National Photograph Month
  • National BBQ Month
  • National Tourism Week (May 7th – May 13th)
  • Graduation and Proms

And here are a whole lot of other May holiday themes You can use for marketing:
May 1 – May Day and Loyalty Day
May 4 – Renewal Day and World Give Day
May 5 – Cinco de Mayo
May 6 – National Nurse’s Day
May 9 – National Teacher’s Day
May 11 – Eat What You Want Day – our personal favorite!
May 12 – Military Spouses Day
May 14 – Mother’s Day
May 20 – Armed Forces Day
May 29 – Memorial Day

*Eat What You Want Day was created by Thomas and Ruth Roy of to help people break away from the frustrating health and diet trends of our times, if for only one day, and just let go and enjoy life a little. Most nutritionists seem to agree that giving yourself a break every now and again can actually be good for us.

Need bright ideas to make your business soar? Count on us! We can create a Diane DeMarco, Marketing @ Workstrategic marketing program that includes: Traditional marketing Public relations E-newsletters Social media Websites Videos Eye-catching ads, brochures, direct mail and more! Contact us today!



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A New Website and a Fresh Start!

Launching a new website is always exciting! Creating an affordable website with a responsive design is usually something we do for clients, but today it’s great to be celebrating our own fresh looking site!

This may prompt you to ask whether your business’ website is due for a complete update, and also how frequently websites need to be updated.

If you’re looking at your website and wondering if it needs a new design – then the answer may be “YES.”

Your website is your face to the world. Most people thinking about doing business with your company will check out your website first. If it looks tired, cluttered and outdated, they may start checking out your competitors!

Ask Yourself These Questions:

1. How is your website laid out?
If you’ve been surfing around the web lately, you’ve probably noticed that most websites now affordable website, Responsive designhave a horizontal layout, rather than the vertical format of the past. They are also clean and crisp, with information most likely to be relevant to visitors.

2. Does your site have a responsive design?
With more than half of all searches now being done on mobile devices (according to Google), it’s critical that you have a responsive website that displays well on smart phones and tablets.

In fact, if you don’t have a responsive site, Google will penalize you in mobile listings!  Google even has a tool you can use to test how mobile friendly your website is:

3. Does it still feature flash?
Heaven’s forbid you still have a website with Adobe Flash! It does NOT mix well with ipads!

4. Are your social sharing buttons easily accessible?
Make sure your Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. are in a prominent location on your website. Putting those sharing button icons in your website header, for example, will allow traffic to access your social media platforms from any page in your site!

5. Does your website reflect your business brand right now?

affordable website, responsive design

You should also consider whether your website is in line with your current business brand. We recently redid a website for a client – an electrician – who had started out doing primarily residential work. They had expanded into commercial/industrial work, and wanted to expand that area of their business.

However, their website was primarily focused on residential work, and, though customers remarked on its friendly look, it did not reflect the professionalism that contractors and others that hire electricians for commercial/industrial work would be seeking.

Today Little Sparkie Electric has a clean, easy to use site that reflects their commercial/industrial capabilities, but keeps just a bit of the charming whimsy of their past site.

6. Is your website intuitive and user-friendly
People are in a hurry, and they want to get a feeling for your company and your products and services right away. According to the Nielsen Norman Group, people stay 0-20 seconds, but pages with a clear value proposition can hold people’s attention for much longer.

Their research found that “the first 10 seconds of the page visit are critical for users’ decision to stay or leave. The probability of leaving is very high during these first few seconds because users are extremely skeptical, having suffered countless poorly designed Web pages in the past. People know that most web pages are useless, and they behave accordingly to avoid wasting more time than absolutely necessary on bad pages.

“If the Web page survives this first — extremely harsh — 10-second judgment, users will look around a bit. However, they’re still highly likely to leave during the subsequent 20 seconds of their visit. Only after people have stayed on a page for about 30 seconds does the likelihood of leaving become relatively flat. People continue to leave every second, but at a much slower rate than during the first 30 seconds.

“So, if you can convince users to stay on your page for half a minute, there’s a fair chance that they’ll stay much longer — often 2 minutes or more, which is an eternity on the Web.” Their study concluded that to gain several minutes of user attention, you must clearly communicate your value proposition within 10 seconds.

7. Is your contact Information easy to find?
Putting your contact information in the header or footer of your site makes it easy for viewers to call you as soon as they have questions or make the decision to meet with you.

8. Do you include a call to action?

affordable website, responsive design
Whether you’re selling products on your website or offer consulting services, do you ask them to take action? Click here – Call Us today – Sign up for our newsletter – let people know what you would like them to do!

If you’d like to talk with us about an affordable website with a responsive design, give us a call – 301-696-8886!

Wait a minute, you may say, you didn’t talk about search engine optimization (SEO)!  No, we didn’t, but watch for our next blog post about SEO!

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