Know any Investors? Well, Actually, Yes I Do.

venture capitalist

May 16th marks a revolution in fund raising for small businesses.

Have you been following the new equity crowdfunding rules that go into effect on Monday?  I’m quite fascinated by the financing doors this opens for so many growing companies. The term “Venture Capitalist” just took on a whole new meaning  and it’s a big deal.

The rule change that went into effect May 16th, basically says, anyone can now purchase equity in pre-IPO companies via selected online investment platforms. In the past this ability was limited to “qualified investors”, those with a net worth of at least one million dollars, or an income of at least $200,000 per year.

Yes, your mom could always invest in your business and the friend of a friend with money to burn.  What this rule change means is that you can invite total strangers to invest in your business, using an online platform that exposes you to hundreds, thousands, maybe millions of them at a time.

As equity crowdfunding with non-accredited investors under Title III comes into effect, it will have massive implications for startups and investors alike, allowing everyday citizens to invest in startups. This will open up a tremendous amount of capital available to early stage companies. – Forbes

May 16th marks a revolution in fund raising for small businesses.

This tremendous amount of capital will flow to growing companies who have a well-developed business plan, strong financials, a solid social media presence and a catchy and exciting tag line/mission statement and marketing plan. Importantly, all of this venture capital won’t be chasing tech, won’t only be interested in unicorns, won’t only flow to young male geeks.  Like Warren Buffet, most ordinary investors want to invest in what they know. That means this “disruption” of traditional financing will see more money flowing to restaurants, and fashion and beauty and boring B2B businesses too …lots of different types of businesses that meet the needs of ordinary people.

While it’s not as simple as using Kickstarter or Indigogo to raise funds, you DO need a bit more formality. (You can find an overview here. ) It’s also a whole lot easier than finding investors on your own…a whole lot.

Like on traditional crowdfunding sites, you’ll need a strong social media presence and marketing plan, not only to market your product, but also to market your ask. You’ll need financial documents and offering documents – with which many of which the platforms are happy to help you! .It’s a little too early to say how much effort marketing the offering will be required by start-ups. Companies on traditional crowdfunding sites tend to do best when they have a solid plan to market their offering and an engaged community.

 

For entrepreneurs, this is a golden opportunity. Unlike  with traditional crowdfunding i.e.  Kickstarter, etc. you can raise some  serious capital. And there are lots of choices of platforms, with many, many specializing in businesses that aren’t software/entertainment/social/apps . If this marketplace, which many compare to the democratization of the stock market that online trading achieved in the ‘90s,follows the same pattern, we’ll see lots of money and lots of opportunity for first movers.

I’ve met many businesses owners with several million dollar businesses that when the conversation comes around to growing through finding investors, the response is, “Yes, we’d love to…know any?”

Now I can confidently say, ‘Yes, actually I do.”

RedRopes Digital can help you develop those plans and market your offering. Most crowdfunding marketing companies focus on traditional crowdfunding, not the development of professional marketing plans required in the equity market.  Our unique skill set combines years of  experience working with start-ups and growing companies, on IPO’s and public offerings with the sophisticated social media outreach you need to reach investors for your company.

Size Matters On Social Media

I’ve been using Canva recently to create images for social media. I’ll still occasionally use Photoshop or Gimp, but for quick social media posts (which we all know can take inordinate amounts of time), I’m finding Canva the quickest way to go.

But, Canva doesn’t have templates for all of the different types of posts I need to do, so I found this Social Media Sizes Cheat Sheet  really helpful. Thanks Louise!

sm cheat sheet

I haven’t checked all of these yet, so please let me know if you see any changes.

 

professional content creationMARYANNE CONLIN IS AN CPG TRAINED MARKETER AND AN AWARD-WINNING DIGITAL EXPERT. SHE SPECIALIZES IN HELPING GROWING BRANDS DEVELOP STRATEGIC  MARKETING PLANS AND EXECUTE THEM EFFECTIVELY. 

CONTACT HER AT REDROPESDIGITAL.COM

FOLLOW HER  ON TWITTER @maryanneconlin

 

 

Is Your Follower Growth Above Average?

One of the things that I find clients worry about most is how fast their social channels are growing. Though engagement ranks higher than number of followers in the ROI equation, especially when starting out, gaining a critical mass of followers is key. So I was happy to find this infographic by TrackMaven  that gave some averages.

Obviously follower growth varies by industry, but these are good starting points.

sm growth

If you’re looking to grow your social media following, engagement rate or increase the ROI of your social media efforts. Contact us today.

professional content creationMARYANNE CONLIN IS AN CPG TRAINED MARKETER AND AN AWARD-WINNING DIGITAL EXPERT. SHE SPECIALIZES IN HELPING GROWING BRANDS DEVELOP STRATEGIC  MARKETING PLANS AND EXECUTE THEM EFFECTIVELY. 

CONTACT HER  OR VISIT REDROPESDIGITAL.COM

FOLLOW HER  ON TWITTER @maryanneconlin

 

Which Social Site

Love this Infographic from Neil Patel. I’ve written about the importance of not getting totally carried away and joining every social site here, here and over here too. Obviously new channels Snapchat and What’s App and a few other developing sites are not on here yet, and the stats are a bit out of date, but this is a nice overview of the largest platforms.

info on socil

It’s tempting when you look at big brand sites and see them all over every platform to try to be there too. But, social media is like any media and is growing more like them every day – there are a multitude of choices, you need to pick the ones that work for your product and  target market. This is particularly critical due to the total time suck that social media can be, whether you are a billion dollar company or an entrepreneur…especially if you are trying to grow a company.

Taking the time to think through a strategy and decide which platforms are best for your brand can make a big difference in your marketing program and is you are a do-it-yourself-er…your life.

 

professional content creationMARYANNE CONLIN IS AN CPG TRAINED MARKETER AND AN AWARD-WINNING DIGITAL EXPERT. SHE SPECIALIZES IN HELPING GROWING BRANDS DEVELOP STRATEGIC  MARKETING PLANS AND EXECUTE THEM EFFECTIVELY. 

CONTACT HER AT REDROPESDIGITAL.COM

FOLLOW HER  ON TWITTER @maryanneconlin

 

A Leader’s Mantra

 

I read a wrap up on the Women’s Entrepreneur Festival this week. Lot’s of good advice, but this one struck me as particularly apt – for more than just entrepreneurs.

 

Accept that you don’t know everything. (2)

professional content creationMARYANNE CONLIN IS AN CPG TRAINED MARKETER AND AN AWARD-WINNING DIGITAL EXPERT. SHE SPECIALIZES IN HELPING GROWING BRANDS DEVELOP STRATEGIC  MARKETING PLANS AND EXECUTE THEM EFFECTIVELY. 

CONTACT HER AT REDROPESDIGITAL.COM

FOLLOW HER  ON TWITTER @maryanneconlin

 

The New Morning Routine – Check Facebook, Then Get Coffee

Some new research came out today on our morning routine. Right up there with pouring a cup of coffee is checking messages. Over 80% of us check before going to work! It turns out we’re mostly checking email and text, presumably for those late night messages from the boss. But a surprising, almost half, mostly millennials, are also checking Facebook.

 

morning checking

For marketers, this is great information that can change our timing of advertising and outreach to consumers. Email marketing has been slowly moving earlier and earlier, especially for events. Consumers are starting to be trained to look for an email first thing in the morning. Facebook advertising, usually scheduled later in the day, might be something to consider adding to the AM hours when running a campaign.

Lots of stuff to think about here.

professional content creationMARYANNE CONLIN IS AN CPG TRAINED MARKETER AND AN AWARD-WINNING DIGITAL EXPERT. SHE SPECIALIZES IN HELPING GROWING BRANDS DEVELOP STRATEGIC  MARKETING PLANS AND EXECUTE THEM EFFECTIVELY. 

CONTACT HER AT REDROPESDIGITAL.COM

FOLLOW HER  ON TWITTER @maryanneconlin

Survival of the Branded

branded

Branding isn’t everything. If you throw enough money at a business, you’re sure to get some traction. If you have a super sales force, you’ll make some inroads. If you are in the right place at the right time, success will come to you, at least for a while.  But a weak brand or no brand will catch up with every entrepreneur somewhere along the way.

Tech companies with an idea, but not a brand disappeared in the tech shakeout of 2000. Many VC funded. “Uber-ish” companies in the mobile space today will probably share the same fate. A company without a brand is just, well vulnerable.

A lot of the discussion in marketing in the last month or so has been about the “slow, then all at once” change in social media. Incrementally, this discipline in marketing has gotten a lot less about “getting” the platforms and a lot more about using them effectively; what you have to pay for and what you get for free. So too has the world of digital advertising gone through upheaval (again.) Not lost in the shuffle has been a new interest in branding – when you can no longer have a “first mover advantage”, digitally speaking, it’s back to basics.

There is a great article in Inc. about Coupons.com and the branding and rebranding that smart companies do. In the 21st century, sitting still isn’t an option.  Understanding your customer and telling your story in a fresh and creative way never gets old.

So branding is back. Long live branding

.headshot newMARYANNE CONLIN IS AN CPG TRAINED MARKETER AND AN AWARD-WINNING DIGITAL EXPERT. SHE SPECIALIZES IN HELPING GROWING BRANDS DEVELOP STRATEGIC  MARKETING PLANS AND EXECUTE THEM EFFECTIVELY. 

CONTACT HER AT REDROPESDIGITAL.COM

FOLLOW HER  ON TWITTER @maryanneconlin

 

 

Instagram Joins Twitter & Facebook in Ending Free Reach

free marketing new.png

After 10 plus years of social media growth, we’ve finally come to the place where we can admit, social media is media and you have to pay to play. Boutique platforms and quirky accounts will still occasionally go viral, for a time, but with Twitter and Instagram joining Facebook with algorithmic timelines, we now have to look at social media just as we would any other marketing tool and allocate resources accordingly.

If you’ve done any marketing on Facebook in the last year or so, it has become clear to you, that without boosted posts and paid ads, the level of traction and engagement that you can get organically is limited. Facebook’s algorithmic timeline (showing you what you are most likely to want to see based on what/who you liked/clicked in the past) effectively blocks traction for new content that isn’t pushed out by Facebook ads or supported by other advertising or P.R. efforts (hopefully both.)

Now Twitter and Instagram have joined Facebook, print, T.V. and radio in offering real value for advertising dollars. Yes, it’s still important to create content and have a P.R. program, but perhaps even more than in traditional media, it’s really important to have an ad plan. In other words, please stop believing that social media is the “cheap” way to market a business. Social can be viewed through the same lens as any media, as a tool – it’s part of the P.R. plan. It’s part of the advertising plan.

In some ways it’s more expensive that traditional media. It’s much more content heavy. It requires a high level of skill that has to be both quantitative and qualitative. It’s constantly changing, so it’s difficult to devote the resources to manage it in house.

On the other hand, it’s a key part of any marketing plan. Network TV watching is dropping rapidly as binge-watching on Netflix, etc. increases (up to 35% less!). Print has been on a downward slide for years and radio is impacted by the rise of music apps. On the other hand, over 80% of consumers are on social media.

In some ways, it’s a relief that the top social channels are acting more like traditional media. Less mystery and more strategy will make it easier to create great programs and effectively measure the results.

headshot newMARYANNE CONLIN IS AN CPG TRAINED MARKETER AND AN AWARD-WINNING DIGITAL EXPERT. SHE SPECIALIZES IN HELPING GROWING BRANDS DEVELOP STRATEGIC  MARKETING PLANS AND EXECUTE THEM EFFECTIVELY. 

CONTACT HER AT REDROPESDIGITAL.COM

FOLLOW HER  ON TWITTER @maryanneconlin

 

Tips For Making The Perfect Logo

It’s amazing to me how many poorly designed logos are created by talented designers.

I take that back.

As the client/designer relationship is often fraught with misunderstandings and imperfect knowledge, I’m not surprised. Regardless, there is a way to improve that knowledge, mostly by having a road map to creating effective marketing materials. Since many of our clients have expertise in fields other than marketing, I found the infographic below provides a great starting point for discussion on making a great logo. Thanks to Tim at Daily Infographic  .

perfect-logo-design-infographic-2 (1)

Back to The Future Want to Waste Ad Dollars? Count Clicks

click

A recent White Paper summarized in this post The Myth about Clicks brought on a severe case of déjà vu. I believe we had this same conversation in the’90s.

Advertisers looking for consumers to make a purchase, visit their stores or other real world business objectives continue to waste advertising dollars when relying solely on clicks…

Research found a few different issues that lead to the scary conclusion that we’re wasting money on ads if we just count clicks

  1. Page Visits – Visitors who come to sites through any other method besides ads view twice as many pages.
  2. Fat Fingers – Unintentional clicks are increasing as more and more of us use smart phones
  3. Dropped Clicks are Increasing (due to network issues) 25.9% for desktops and up to 57.4% for smartphones.

All of this basically, says, as more and more we search, watch videos, read articles and basically use our smart phones instead of our computers, the less we can rely on standard measures of CTR (Click through rate) and CPC (Cost per click).

So what do we do now? I’ve shared some articles recently here and here and here about relying less on pure data and bringing the marketing back into marketing. This means viewing advertising holistically, the way we have traditionally measured advertising (radio, TV, outdoor, print). It’s not all about the output metrics (clicks), more attention should be paid to input metrics (impressions/frequency) and hard results – page views, page clicks and ultimately dollars spent.

There is a role for online advertising. It should be a big part of any ad campaign, simply for the reason that we more and more go online to listen to radio, watch TV and read articles. It’s how we measure its effectiveness that needs to change.

headshot newMARYANNE CONLIN IS AN CPG TRAINED MARKETER AND AN AWARD-WINNING DIGITAL EXPERT. SHE SPECIALIZES IN HELPING GROWING BRANDS DEVELOP STRATEGIC  MARKETING PLANS AND EXECUTE THEM EFFECTIVELY. 

CONTACT HER AT REDROPESDIGITAL.COM

FOLLOW HER  ON TWITTER @maryanneconlin