David Brim on business, marketing & life.

Ad 2 Orlando – Diversity Dialogue recap

Contributor: David Brim March 23, 2013

This past Thursday I had the opportunity to participate in the second annual Diversity Dialogue, which was hosted by Ad 2 Orlando.  The event, which was held at the Orlando Science Center, focused on discussing the topic of diversity in advertising and marketing.   Joel Montilla, head of the diversity committee for Ad 2 Orlando organized the event and invited me to be on the panel.

Diversity Dialogue panel pic

The panel included…

Wilson Camelo: Chief Marketing Officer, Bauzá & Associates 

Wilson Camelo is Agency Principal and Chief Marketing Officer at Bauzá & Associates. He has nearly 20 years of experience as a senior communication strategist in both the general market and Hispanic market. He has worked with local, regional and national clients including Feld Entertainment, Northeast Utilities, Bigelow Tea, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Bruegger’s Bagels, Brighthouse, Cambridge College and Steward Healthcare. He is also the author of Latino lingo, the longest-running blog focused on Hispanic marketing.

Joshua Johnson: Co-Founder, Learn Everywhere 
Learn Everywhere empowers schools and corporations to integrate mobile devices into their learning environment. Prior to Learn Everywhere, Joshua founded NextZen Media, a new media consulting practice. Joshua has helped organizations such as Orlando, Inc., Central Florida Partnership, University of Central Florida Business Incubation Program, National Entrepreneur Center, and the City of Orlando to find their voice on the web through the use of social media. As the Entrepreneurial Marketing Professor at the University of Central Florida, Joshua shares his experience and expertise in entrepreneurship, marketing, mobile, and social media with his students. Outside of the classroom, Joshua speaks to various organizations and at conferences about the same topics.

Shally Wong: Founder, Asia Trend Magazine
Shally Wong earned her Bachelor Degree in Business Administration/MIS from University of Central Florida. She started her career at purchasing department for Darden Restaurants in 1994. Later she was hired by Toys R Us, Asia in Hong Kong and handled purchasing issue for Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Later, she coowned China Garden Restaurant in Winter Park for 5 years and opened Global Media & Productions – media/advertising company in 2005. She enjoys working with different nationalities. She is currently the President of the Chinese American Association of Central Florida which she has served since 2006.

David Brim: Founder, Brand Advance
David Brim is the CEO and founder of Brand Advance, an Internet marketing and design agency based in Orlando, Fla. Since 2009, Brand Advance has helped hundreds of companies, spanning a variety of industries, grow their business online. A graduate of the University of Central Florida, where he majored in marketing, David is the only two-time winner of the school’s Joust Business Plan Competition and was also a finalist in the in the Sunshine State Venture Challenge in Cocoa Beach and the Nascent 500 Business Challenge in Indianapolis. Prior to founding Brand Advance, David helped start and manage the premium blogger and influencer program at IZEA and Co-founded GroupTable, a collaboration software with over 10,000 users around the world. David’s latest venture, Bright Impact, is a technology that helps students and educators manage their service learning initiatives and measure their impact.Diversity Dialogue - David Brim

Sus-Hi, my favorite restaurant, sponsored the event and the Ninjas kicked off the night with pure deliciousness.  Their food is amazing and I highly recommend giving Sus-Hi a try if you have the opportunity.  Sus-Hi was founded by two young local entrepreneurs Robert Ly and Teresa Uyen Chan that I’m thankful to call friends.  I look forward to seeing their business grow.

After panel member introductions and dinner, the panel was asked a variety of questions from the audience related to diversity in advertising and we shared our thoughts and perspectives.

Each of the panel members had a diverse background and answered the questions through their unique lens, shaped by their culture and experiences.

During the dialogue Shally Wong shared a story from her experiences working with Disney that really illustrated the importance of understanding and appreciating diversity.

Disney built and opened a Magic Kingdom park in Hong Kong.  The park didn’t perform as well and the Disney team spoke with Shally about why.  She explained that many of the youth in Asia were not familiar with Mickey Mouse, or a variety of the other Disney Characters.  The primary reason is that they had their own cartoon and anime characters that they grew up with which became part of their culture.  In addition to this she mentioned that the Asian cultures place a very high value on education. Shally went on to say that she would not have advised for them to open up a Magic Kingdom park initially, but instead…Epcot.

Epcot is a Disney park that celebrates diversity and gives visitors the opportunity to take a peak into the various cultures around the world.  This is my favorite Disney park and is especially enjoyable during their annual Food & Wine festival.

I thought that Shally’s story was very powerful.  No matter where we live, or what religion, ethnicity or culture we may be a part of…many of us have a desire to understand and experience other cultures.  Gaining a glimpse of their unique food, customs, beliefs and way of life broadens our own knowledge and perception and helps us to understand, appreciate and celebrate diversity.

This understanding and appreciation can also make us better marketers.

In marketing and advertising it is essential to view the world through the eyes of who will be receiving your message.  Put yourself in their shoes through research and gain an intimate and true understanding of them before marketing / advertising.  There is a difference between brand identity and brand image.  Brand Identity is how a brand sees themselves and brand image is how someone else views the brand.  A brand may think that they are doing something for a good cause and are spot on with their messaging, but the perception of the person receiving the message may be completely different.

A perfect example of this is the recent Sumsung commercials for their new Galaxy S IV phone.

Samsung received a lot of negative press and comments on social media related to their recent commercials and campaign.  Though Samsung’s marketing team  may view American women in this way, many American women don’t view themselves in this way and not only don’t identify with how they were represented, but were in many cases offended.

In addition to thinking about brand identity and brand image,  brands must also consider the difference between customer identity and customer image.  We may perceive a prospect  / customer in one way, but that may not necessarily be how the members of that specific audience perceive themselves.  Shally’s example of opening a Magic Kingdom location in Hong Kong was another example of this.  It’s easy to forget that if you show 5 people the same thing you may get 5 different reactions.  We all see and interpret the world through our own lens.  That lens, created from our education, culture, religion and experiences shapes our perception, thoughts and behaviors.  This is what makes the world special and why we have such a diverse group of people, brands, products and experiences to appreciate.

When people think of diversity they often think “cultural diversity”.  Though this is one type of diversity, there are many others.  We are all fundamentally different, but there are certain common bonds that group us together with certain other people. This may be….

  • common interests
  • religious belief
  • political view
  • industry we work in
  • ethnicity
  • gender
  • geographic location
  • common thoughts or goals
  • shared experiences or struggles
  • etc

What’s interesting about this is that the things that make us similar to certain groups of people and bond us together also make us different to others from their perspective.  Not to be cheesy, but diversity is the “spice of life” and keeps life interesting and entertaining.  It enables us to have deeper bonds based on certain commonalities we have with people and gives us the opportunity to understand and appreciate the differences of others.   After all, life would be very boring if we all thought, looked and acted the same as everyone else.

As marketing and advertising professionals it is important for us to never forget to see the world not only from our perspective, but also from the view point of the customer we are seeking to reach and influence.  It is also important to remember that at a high-level we all share certain common bonds and are all human.  But, with that said, the more we seek to understand the differences and view points of the diverse customer prospects we are targeting the higher the likelihood that a creative asset, messaging and overall campaign will have success.

Props to Joel Montilla for organizing the event and a shout out to my fellow panel experts and the audience.  I was happy to be part of this wonderful event and enjoyed the experience.

7 Powerful Lessons Sun Tzu can teach you about Strategy

Contributor: David Brim January 8, 2013

The world has gotten much smaller with the birth of social networks, social bookmarking websites, search engines, email and other communication mediums.   Furthermore consumers are constantly bombarded with marketing and advertising messages from every direction from companies competing for their attention.


Having a well founded strategy is necessary to win the battle for your customer’s attention, and win the war within your respective marketplace.

I am a big fan of studying history and the great leaders, philosophers and strategists of the past. One influential figure that I have written about in the past in my “Lesson on Communication” post was military strategist and philosopher Sun Tzu.

Sun Tzu was a Chinese general and philosopher who lived over 2,000 years ago and is most known for writing the Art of War.  Sun Tzu often wrote about the importance of strategy and the wisdom that he shared is still extremely applicable today whether you’re referring to business, sports, or military endeavors.

In regards to business, too many times people focus on tactics without having a proper overall strategy in place.  Utilizing SEO, Social Media, or blogging are all tactics.   These tactics can be extremely valuable when in the hands of the right craftsman, but not so effective without an overall strategy behind them.

This brings us to Sun Tzu’s First Strategy Lesson…

Sun Tzu Strategy Lesson One

Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.

Before thinking – How can my business use Facebook, or “X popular social network” (or any tactic for that matter) take a step back and ensure that your overall strategy is defined.   Do you know how you plan on winning in your respective marketplace?  There are two fundamental strategies to consider – low cost or differentiation (Niche).

Low cost is self explanatory and is the strategy utilized by companies like Walmart or Southwest.  If this is your strategy every tactic you utilize, or move that you make, should fall in line with increasing your customer volume and decreasing your costs.

This could involve tactics like:

  • Developing systems to streamline operations
  • Harnessing the power of economies of scale (buying in volume)
  • Economies of scope (lowering costs by spreading risk across various product lines)
  • Lowering the cost of acquiring a new customer through conversion optimization

Typically a low cost strategy is focused on reaching customers that are more broad in nature.

A differentiation strategy focuses around meeting a specific market’s needs well.  Typically if you are able to develop a true competitive advantage that clearly differentiates you from your competitors, or alternative solutions in your respective marketplace your prospects will often be willing to pay a premium for your offering.

Differentiation and developing a sustainable competitive advantage is the goal of many firms, but it isn’t easy.

A fundamental foundation of strategy is research.  After all, how can you form a strategy without being informed?

This brings us to Sun Tzu strategy lesson two.

Sun Tzu Lesson Two

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles”

This lesson essentially focuses on understanding your strengths and weaknesses as well as those of your competitors.  The full Sun Tzu quote is actually…“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle”

Start by thoroughly understanding the strengths and weaknesses of both you and your key competitors.  Consider conducting a SWOT analysis to assist you with this endeavor.

In a SWOT analysis, outside of strengths and weaknesses there are also opportunities and threats.  Opportunities and Threats are elements occurring outside of a particular company that could impact it.

To understand opportunities and threats you have to have a finger on the pulse of what is occurring in your industry.  This takes us to Sun Tzu strategy lesson number three.

Sun Tzu strategy lesson number three

“The natural formation of the country is the soldier’s best ally”

In this particular quote Sun Tzu is referencing the terrain, or landscape that one faces in battle. It is important for us to remember to become very accustomed to the landscape of our industry. We must also be aware of changes that occur in our industry that could impact our business. Change, or movement in your industry, can create opportunities or threats for you or your competitors. What changes could impact your industry? Here’s a few…

    • New laws or government regulations
    • Disruptive technologies
    • Changes in the budget of your customers
    • Social changes and movements

Some industries are more volatile than others, but eventually change will come. It all comes down to how prepared you are to take advantage of that change.

This brings us to Sun Tzu Strategy Lesson number four

Sun Tzu strategy lesson four

“The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand.”

In this lesson Sun Tzu was expressing that those who prepare in advance by creating well founded plans are more likely to be successful. There are only 24 hours in a day and there are always excuses that can be made, but those who are truly successful have invested time into proper planning.

When planning, consider exploring a variety of tactical combinations based on what has worked in the past for you, others in your industry, or even other companies in different industries.

This brings us to Sun Tzu strategy lesson five…

Sun Tzu strategy lesson five

“There are not more than five musical notes, yet the combinations of these five give rise to more melodies than can ever be heard.”

Consider planning to utilize conversion optimization by conducting experiments in A/B testing and multi-variate testing. Plan to test different:

    • Headlines
    • Marketing messages
    • Page layouts
    • Images
    • Call to action buttons
    • Advertisements
    • Traffic Sources
    • Keywords
    • Etc

Sun Tzu believed in this concept so much that he went on to give additional examples…

“There are not more than five primary colours, yet in combination
they produce more hues than can ever been seen.”

“There are not more than five cardinal tastes, yet combinations of
them yield more flavours than can ever be tasted.”

But in order to be successful relying solely on planning and strategy isn’t enough. Remember what Sun Tzu mentioned in lesson one…

“Strategy before tactics is the slowest route to victory”.

A well founded strategy is only as viable as the ability for a firm to execute and see it through.

Fundamentally, successful operations comes down to the correct thing happening at the right time.

This brings us to Sun Tzu’s Strategy lesson number six.

Sun Tzu strategy lesson number six

“The quality of decision is like the well-timed swoop of a falcon which enables it to strike and destroy its victim.”

A decision to act only is going to be successful if the action is appropriate for the situation presented. Having a quality strategy is very important, but being able to recognize the moment to strike and execute various aspects of your strategy is a very important skill as well.

This takes practice and requires you to be attuned with what is occurring in your respective marketplace.

The good thing is that as you continue to practice and this valuable skill you’ll notice that the law of attraction will kick in. More and more opportunities will come your way.

This brings us to our final Sun Tzu lesson on strategy.

Sun Tzu strategy lesson seven

“Opportunities multiply as they are seized.”

Success breeds success.  One of my favorite books read in 2012 was “Thinking in Systems”  by Donella H. Meadows.  In her book she explains a system trap called “Success to Successful”.  Essentially this, from a systems thinking standpoint, is a flaw where those in a particular competitive environment acquire additional resources as a result of winning that helps them to further compete more effectively in the future.

For example: If a manufacturing firm wins a very large contract they will bring in additional revenue that could give them the opportunity to expand their manufacturing capabilities.  Through this expansion they are able to produce their products at a more economical rate and higher volume to win future jobs.

Think about how you, or your company can take advantage of the “Success to Successful” systems flaw and attract more opportunities and wins.

Through the “Success to Successful” concept more opportunities will continue to come your way. The key, as the great legendary Coach John Wooden said is to be balanced and prepared to recognize and take advantage of the various opportunities that come your way.

I hope that you’ve found these timeless Sun Tzu lessons to be helpful.

One final lesson that Sun Tzu mentioned, which may be the most important of all is that…

“You have to believe in yourself.”

What Sun Tzu lessons did you find to be the most impactful? Drop a comment, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Land More Customers – the book – Coming Soon

Contributor: David Brim January 5, 2013

Well…I said I wouldn’t buy a tablet until I finished my book and that my book would be the first thing I read on it. Yesterday I bought a tablet – An Amazon Kindle Fire HD to be exact 🙂

The book was inspired by a Copyblogger guest post I created and compares marketing to fishing. If you’d like to learn more about the book please visit: Land More Customers.

The link above contains a back story of the book and a related presentation that I gave to business owners, marketing executives and economic development professionals.

I am looking for several people who are in the business or marketing world to read it over and provide genuine feedback over the next couple weeks. If interested contact me.

Thanks for the support everyone!

Warning: Build your personal brand now, or you’ll regret it later

Contributor: David Brim March 6, 2011

February 17th I spoke at the University of Central Florida for their “Entrepreneurial Speaker Series” in front of an audience of 50-60 ambitious business students.  The topic was on marketing strategies for entrepreneurs….I decided to take a slightly different direction to help students from falling into a very common trap that can severely injure or even kill a professional career or start up’s chance of success.

The information I shared with the students I spoke with is relevant for many of my readers and others out there.  With that being said I thought I’d share it here as well.

First off a small back story to put everything in context…

Over the last six months or so I’ve given probably five different speeches/presentations, primarily to start-ups and second stage companies.  This actually included a talk at the Florida Technology Partnership event in Ft. Myers two days prior to my talk at UCF.  As I was in my hotel room in Ft Myers, after my speech to a group of CEOs and marketing executives, I had a thought….I’ve given essentially the same presentation the last five times or so that I’ve talked focused on marketing strategy, SEO, Social Media and branding.  Though this presentation was good I realized this information and delivery is perfect for those who already have companies and are trying to grow them, but will it add the same value to motivated college students.  Many of these college students aspire to be an entrepreneur, but don’t have a venture in mind let alone a product or service to market now.

What should I do…Should I give the same presentation or craft a new one.  My talk was scheduled for 1 hour and I altruistically always want to make sure my audience gets the most from my experiences and insight.

Unsure of how to approach it, especially with a  day and a half to go and lots of work to do at Brand Advance the next day…I decided to sleep on it and plan my attack on my drive back to Orlando from Ft. Myers (about 3-4 hours).

I started to go through a simple marketing exercise that I take my clients through at Brand Advance and thought about who I was trying to reach and influence….what are their problems, motivations, experiences, etc.  What can I offer to impact them the most and add the highest value.

In the case of students, learning new marketing tactics to grow brand awareness of a business isn’t as important and essential as learning how to market themselves…after all you are the only product you will have for the rest of your life.  If you can perfect marketing and building your personal brand through the process you will learn and understand how to market other brands as well.   Building brand you will continue to pay dividends and attract great opportunities into your life.

Personal branding is more important today than ever before.  Unemployment is extremely high, more people are graduating and more people are getting laid off from their jobs.

What does this mean?

It means that you have more competition for both obtaining a job, and growing your entrepreneurial ventures. What causes you to stand out and land that good job, find investment funding, gain experienced mentors, or align yourself with those who will be energized to work on your start up?

It’s your personal brand- made up of your credibility, past achievements, experiences, the way you carry yourself, who you associate with, and the knowledge you have in your respective field.

Here’s how I foresee many falling into the trap…

  1. A student graduates excited to get a job in their field
  2. Realize that unemployment is extremely high and get a job in an un-related field to pay the bills until they can find a better job, or launch their start-up.
  3. They end up working in that unrelated job for years, not building experiences and credibility in their respective field and not keeping educated on new trends and industry knowledge.
  4. When the market turns around in a few years an employer is going to hire either a fresh college grad that they can mold, or hire someone who was laid off in the field with industry specific experience.
  5. The college student working in an unrelated field to pay the bills will be stuck in a weird spot…they won’t have enough industry specific knowledge to get a relevant job or launch a viable start-up that solves a market need.
  6. They then are at a time to move on in their life and get married and have a kid at some point making it even harder to close the gap as others who get on the inside track in an industry so to speak.

So the question becomes….How do you solve this and avoid the trap?

Here’s my thoughts…

  1. Get Educated…I’m not talking about a school education, though in some fields like medical and education this is essential.  I’m talking about keeping up with industry trends and learning how others in your field are staying on top of their game.  School is great at teaching you how to learn or the basic fundamentals in a given area.  Truth be told many of the trends that can really help you can’t be taught in school because the teachers are too busy teaching older text book lessons to keep up with them.  Even if they did teach you something innovative or forward thinking they are also teaching everyone else.  You need to learn more than other students in your classes….remember you are competing with students graduating at schools all across the country as well as those experienced industry professionals who have lost their jobs.
  2. Stand on the Shoulders of Giants / Get Connected…It’s essential to begin developing relationships with influencers in your respective field.  These influencers can connect you to other influencers and if you’ve built your personal brand, have credibility and deliver good results this can be a continual never ending process.  You can meet potential business partners, employers, investors and much more.  Also- those who are more experienced in an industry also will be able to see trends that you may not that can assist you in developing new ventures.  Building your network of mentors is also another very wise thing to do.  They will have a personal interest in seeing you succeed and will be able to connect you to others in their network to assist with your endeavors.
  3. Flex your expertise / Build your brand awareness:  Once you’ve found innovative trends and can begin constructing your own thoughts on various industry topics begin flexing your expertise by starting a blog utilizing wordpress.org or blogger.com.  I also recommend identifying top bloggers in your field and build a relationship with them by commenting on their blog or talking with them on twitter…If possible see if you can become a guest writer for their blog, which in many cases will have thousands of readers.  I also would suggest finding online groups and physical networking groups (ex: Linkedin, Google/Yahoo Groups & Meetup) to join as well as answering industry related questions in Q&A sites like yahoo answers.  Revealing your expertise through blogging and online networking will work wonders…I have gotten clients from my blog, job offers, new venture opportunities, media coverage and much more.
  4. Leverage your successes: Often times people will achieve something that can differentiate them from their competitors, but will not put it out there.  It’s not bragging, it’s establishing credibility and showing your value.  Create an achievements page, it’s essentially an interactive resume.  It’s much more powerful than a regular resume because it can go more in depth, show pictures and even link off to other pages where you elaborate.
  5. Control your brand online or someone else will:  You ideally should want to own the page when someone types your name into Google with content that you want them to see.  Employers will search for you, potential business partners, customers, investors and many more.  This is a huge part of building your brand online.  You want it to be easy for others to find you and when they do you want their findings to represent how you want your brand to be perceived.Purchase your own domain name if you can get it, or some sort of variation.  This can be done at godaddy.com.  Get a wordpress blog up, which should take about 10 mins or so and start blogging!  Also be sure to watch what you post on Facebook as well as what others post.  Know your brand and what you are trying to convey and don’t do anything contradictory to that because it may end up online.  Everyone has smart phones with cameras and video recorders these days…Your slip could be the next viral sensation and really damage your brand.
  6. Launch a start up:  Once you’ve taken time to build your personal brand you should have connections and an understanding of trends occurring in the market place.  In my mind at this point it’s not a bad thing to start planning and getting your start up concept in motion.   Even if you fall flat on your face you’ll learn.  Don’t get discouraged entrepreneurship can have a lot of ups and downs, but more potential risk…more potential reward.  Note:  I would never recommend running up your credit cards and sinking all your money into a startup.  This kind of financial strain is never really a good idea unless you have some strong proof of concept.  Best case scenario….Your start up will be a success and you’ll create a job for yourself or better yet an asset that will make you millions.  At a minimum you can equip yourself with something to differentiate yourself from others in a job interview.  Working on a pet project and showing potential and traction is in my eyes much more impressive than a coffee grabbing internship, unrelated job, or high gpa.  It shows that you are a self starter, are resourceful, disciplined and can add the same value to another organization as well.By the way colleges are a great place to launch a business for a large variety of reasons.

Anyway I just looked at the clock and it’s 3:48 am…time flies when your in the zone.  Another thought on that note…be prepared to work long hours at times.  Launching a start up and building a personal brand, especially when working another job takes a lot of hours.  Don’t let your health suffer, but be prepared to put the time in.  It will eventually pay off.

Remember:  If it was easy everyone would be doing it!

I hope this post helped.  If you please share it with others in your network via Facebook, Twitter, Digg, delicious or Stumble Upon.

Good luck on your journey to success and watch out for the trap!

Let me know what you thought about the post in the comments below.

10 Local Marketing Tips to Drive Business Your Way

Contributor: David Brim January 14, 2011

Recently a business owner reached out to me for assistance in marketing his business in a local market.  After writing a response to his questions I thought that others would be able to benefit from the information that I shared with him so I decided to share it with my readers.

I need some help marketing my last two dance classes. Any suggestions on where and how to get the word out?

There are a number of ways that you can do this….

1) SEO: If you have a website optimize it for local keywords so that people can find you.  There are two main aspects of search engine optimization what happens on your website and what happens outside of your website.  The on page factors include your website’s code, content, urls, page titles, etc.  A website’s off page SEO is basically their link portfolio- how many sites are linking to you, what is the quality of the sites linking to you, etc.  Here is a previous post that I wrote regarding link building.  There are many different tactics, but this article will go over the basics.  https://davidbrim.com/seo-and-link-building-101

Also be sure you are listed on google places, yelp, etc and the other major local listing sites.  Check out www.getlisted.org

2) Facebook Ads: Advertise to your potential customers on Facebook.  You can select your target customers demographics, interests (including dance or dancing with the stars, etc), location and more.

3) Google Adwords: Similar to SEO, but pay for placement.  You basically bid on keywords and the combination of highest price and quality score (relevancy and authority in google’s eyes) will show first.  You only pay on a per click basis.  If going this route make sure you track your costs and the amount of sales generated to make sure your getting a return on investment.  You can also target your ads to a specific geographic area so you won’t be paying for those who are not in the right area to take advantage of your service.

4) Social Media: Use tracking tools like www.socialmention.com and monitter.com to see who is discussing dance related topics in a certain geographic area on twitter and facebook.  Viralheat.com is another good tool for monitoring social media conversations globally or locally, but that is a paid subscription based tool.Once they are found you can engage these users with various tactics to raise your brand’s visibility.

5) Craigslist & other Classified marketing sites: Post your service on craigslist in your city.  This is a very highly trafficked classified site and can be very effective.  Other popular classified marketing sites include: Back Page and Epage.

6) Referrals: Tap into your current client’s social circles of influence and ask them for referrals.  It’s also wise to have your current clients become a fan of your brand on facebook so your brand gets out to their friends.  Possibly offer an incentive of a free class or discount to those who refer other clients.

7) Direct mail & Traditional Marketing: We worked with a dance company and did a direct mail campaign to kick off their grand opening.  We had formal invitations developed and mailed them out to homes tax assessed at $350K+.  They had a great turn out, but direct mail can be very expensive.  Radio and TV are also options depending on your budget, but internet marketing will provide a more cost effective and measurable solution.

8) Give a free performance– Attract people in with a free show or performance.  Once they are there give them food and/or wine (if legal aged) which can be donated from sponsors.  While there have people offer a free lesson to those who attend and sign them up on the spot.

9) Local Coupon Sites like Groupon– The local daily/weekly coupon craze is going full blast.  Leading the charge is Groupon, however competitors like LivingSocial, Tippr, and Buywithme are all gaining traction.

10) Harness the power of Local Meetup and Facebook groups– Local online groups can be a very powerful way to raise awareness of your venture.  Visit www.meetup.com and do a search for your zipcode and a relevant keyword.  Also visit Facebook and do searches to find relevant groups and fan pages.  There are several ways to utilize these groups and pages.

  • First- you can simply participate in a popular local group- by sharing an insightful comment with a link to your website people will be intrigued to learn more and click through the link to learn more about your business.
  • Second- You can contact the group creator or page admin and ask them to send out a message to their audience.  This may cost some money, but will give your brand good viability if you can find the right group.
  • Finally- Start your own interest group.  If you have the time, it can be very valuable to start an online group around a topic of interest yourself.  You can network with people interested in this topic and if you ask intriguing questions and share thoughtful responses you will be perceived as an expert and someone a potential customer would want to hire.

I hope this helps!

If you have any additional questions let me know.

What do you guys think…Did I miss any anything?

If so feel free to comment.

All the best,



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