Finding the Right Marketer

Finding the Right Marketer

There are a lot of organizations who know they could be doing better with their marketing. However, many do not know how to do it themselves. Further, they do not know how to find the right marketer to help them started. Often times these organizations do not even know where to start the conversations. Where do I start? Do I do Facebook Ads? Do I put up a billboard? Unfortunately, this is just the beginning of the challenges. Once these organizations get started, they typically do not have a sense for whether the marketing investment is working to drive them more business or not. In short, finding the right marketer can be hard.

Saffron Key’s Partners

We have spent a long time cultivating a collection of partners that are capable of delivering on specific marketing tasks, but align to our 5 marketing principles. By staying within our network, we collectively promise to grow your business. We will build the marketing foundation for you to learn more about your customer and deliver value to them. As your company grows, so too will your marketing activities.

Web Developers

  • Freelock is a web development company that believes “every website can do more”. This studio specializes in high-quality web presence and a consistent method to consistently improve the overall value of the website to your business.
  • Iron Egg is a web development company that serves two audiences exceptionally-well. There are some companies that simply need a basic web presence to start their content marketing services–this should not be expensive or complicated. They also focus on high-end custom-build websites for the companies that require a heavy design touch.
  • Highly Anticipated specializes on finding your central voice and delivering a high-quality visually-stunning presence. This organization understands an organization’s brand and central message better than most.
  • WebCami delivers custom-built wordpress sites that deliver based on your business need.

SEO

While there are many organizations capable of driving high-quality SEO, we have found few better examples of delivering on a shoestring budget than EZRankings.

Finding the Right Marketer

There are many ways to start the marketing process, but few approaches in the beginning are more-effective than a well-built website with search engine-optimized content behind it. It is this foundation that is at the core of the Saffron Key offering. With our partners–we promise to deliver value to your business. As we build a larger following for your business, we’ll be able to expand our offerings and create even more value. Marketing, if it is done right, is like pushing a snowball down a hill.

If you are curious to know how a cohesive brand story, paired with a well-built website and high-quality can grow your business–let’s chat.

Starting a Business

Starting a Business

You’re at a barbecue with good friends.  The food’s been eaten, the grill has been turned off, and it is now that blissful time to kick back with everyone and enjoy full-stomach contentment as you chat about life.  Through conversation, someone comes up with a cool idea that could be turned into a business.  More ideas get thrown around, and pretty soon: the cool idea becomes a “what if we can actually do this?”

Entrepreneurial Spirit vs. Entrepreneurial Success

How many times has it happened where someone comes up with a great idea for a business, but it fails to launch because of x, y, and z realities?   According to Bloomberg, 80% of entrepreneurs who start small businesses fail within the first 18 months.  From our years of small business consulting, Saffron Key has encountered every manner of entrepreneur and great idea, and we’ve come to spot some of the major things that make them sink or swim.  We passionately strive to see our clients flourish, and we want you to as well.  Here’s some advice from the company that celebrates the spirit of entrepreneurship and the 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs whose experience helps us grow stronger.

The Habits that Propel a Competitive Business Strategy

  1. Plan ahead. Decide on a business plan.  You have a product or service, maybe even your first customer, but you need the blueprints to get things moving.  Are you going the investor way, or the bootstrapping way?  Do you have an internal operations plan?
  2. Completely understand your customers. Beyond finding a pain and its solution, you need to know what motivates the purchasing behaviors of your customers.  Conversations are conversions waiting to happen.  Social media can be a pain, but we find that it’s a useful tool to capture the voice of the consumer.  Would you rather invest $1,000 in customer conversations now, or lose thousands in invested capital to reinvent your product to address buying realities?  Communicate a solid value proposition that speaks with the voice of your consumer.
  3. If you can’t build an audience, don’t spend 3+ years building something. We heard that quote through our friend Scott Hirnle, founder of Elite Security Network.  Sunk costs.  They’re the pesky dollar signs floating out of the cash register because pride or cluelessness keeps us from adjusting course.
  4. Hire people passionate about your product or service. One of the main things we see in successful companies is something called “Brand Unity”.  It’s that feeling of harmony across the ranks of the company where there is a cohesion of culture and an enthusiasm for mutual success.  Passionate people have a reason to see your business succeed.  You need to have great surety that your team has a unified approach to that great idea.
  5. It’s better to work quickly and learn, than work slowly and lose revenue. Words like “agile”, “lean”, “zero inventory”, and “pivoting” are popular because they paint the picture of a company that conserves resources to simplify and shorten the approach toward what works and what does not.  Starting a small business works better when you keep it simple and don’t waste time.
  6. Protect yourself. Failure is going to happen, in small ways or fatal ways.  Expect success, prepare for failure.  If hindsight is 20/20, then foresight is its cousin with better odds.  Preparation helps bolster your confidence in the decisions you make.  Mental preparation is every bit as important as emergency cash flows and intelligent contracts.  Not only must you understand your customers, you must understand your abilities, realities, and bandwidth.  Over-extension is a trap that entrepreneurs fall into too often, and it dooms the person and the business.

We have a passion for working with companies that have a great idea, but don’t know where to start.

Success is not going to come easy.  There is no amount of preparation that will ensure perfect results.  Saffron Key is a company of entrepreneurship enthusiasts who believe in small business marketing solutions.  Set up a free consultation with us today, and we will find ways to set that great idea in motion and see it grow into something to be proud of.

Saffron Key: empowering the next generation of game changers.

Small Business Advertising Ideas Seattle

Small Business Advertising Ideas Seattle

As I think back on the early days of my company, my marketing options were not appealing. I was “running” digital marketing on my own, I put “running” in quotes, because my phone wasn’t ringing. In short, all of the small business advertising ideas I tried were simply not working. That had to change, and I had to make sure nobody else felt as lost and bewildered as I felt at that moment.  When I finally figured it out, I was going to make sure others knew what worked for me. I tried to do it myself: Pay per Click, I tried Facebook Ads, I tried Organic Content, I tried SEO—nothing.

Run my own Digital Marketing

The role of an entrepreneur is multifaceted. Within a 5-minute window, you move from Chief Strategist to Chief Operating Officer and then on to Chief Janitorial Engineer. In short—it’s all on you—and so is marketing…and so is digital marketing. Digital marketing is a nebulous and disconnected practice. The practice requires a delicate understanding of creative messaging, hyper-focused targeting, and technical knowhow. Most importantly, the practice requires concentration, devotion, and consistency—as any small business owner will attest—hours to sit and concentrate—are non-existent.

Hire a Marketing Agency

Marketing professionals do exist—and at the time I could have used some guidance. Since my company was not growing much at all, I didn’t have a ton of resources to dedicate to the rather outlandish fees charged by marketing agencies. I could almost cover the first month’s fees—I knew that was not going to drive substantive change.

Hire a Marketing Intern

I did hire an intern—and while my social media was now full of highly visual and inspiring pictures, my phone still didn’t really ring. The brutal truth about social media marketing is that very seldom does it actually lead to the phone ringing.
Even with fresh content and a growing audience—my phone still was not ringing.

Perpetual Digital Marketing

The reality is that social media is an important puzzle piece in digital marketing—but it is not a cohesive strategy. More importantly, using all of the different channels effectively is not entirely obvious. It was not until I learned how to use each individual digital media asset to its most-effective and as part of a larger ecosystem working all together that my phone started to ring on a regular basis. Once it started to ring, we had the data and the process needed to make it run again. Further, we had the foundation in place to get it to ring more often! In short, our digital marketing started sustaining and growing our business. We landed more clients—and we landed them more quickly. This became our business—we started showing companies how to use all of these disparate digital entities together and powerfully.

Will it work for me?

I’m very proud that you are reading this piece—it shows that we have found a repeatable way to find entrepreneurs who are frustrated with the options highlighted above and are ready to try something else. If you are ready to take your business to the next level, send us an email and we’ll discuss how we can get your business new clients.

If you would like to learn more about how Saffron Key can help grow your business, check out our Getting Started page and tell us about your company and its needs.

Small Business Marketing Principles

Small Business Marketing Principles

In the previous post (Small Business Marketing Plan), we began by answering a lingering question: “How do I build a marketing plan for my small business?” Now that you’ve built your marketing plan, let’s talk about small business marketing principles that build the foundation of this plan. Before we get into the specifics, we’re going to lay out a few principles to help you execute your marketing plan.

Small Business Marketing Principle 1: Work Backwards

Think about what your marketing is trying to do. Your marketing is persuading people to buy more of your product. Alternatively, your marketing is persuading people to buy your product at a higher-margin. You can do this by expanding your customer base or getting more out of your existing customer base. If your research tells you that you need more faces in your store, it’s best to start with an awareness campaign to expand your reach. If your research tells you that you already cannot keep track of all of your customers, loyalty campaigns may help you get more sales from your existing customers.

Small Business Marketing Principle 2: Now Work Back from Principle 1

If you’ve decided to invest in loyalty, you are hoping to have a more intimate relationship with your existing customers. This will provide high-value cross-sell and up-sell opportunities. It’s important to realize that loyalty campaigns follow the same adoption curve as any new product or offering. You will not have 10,000 members in your loyalty program on Day 1. More importantly, you will not have 10,000 members in your loyalty campaign if only 3 customers are aware of the new loyalty campaign. You are building a foundation for success. This foundation starts by having 1 customer aware…and then 2… and then 3. Which brings us to our next Principle.

Small Business Marketing Principle 3: It All Starts with 1

I wish I could tell you the secret to getting exponential marketing growth. Unfortunately, marketing requires a commitment and an investment to the customer. It requires a consistent message, patience, and perseverance. There really are not any shortcuts. It’s an uphill slog the whole way. The best marketers are adding new customers and getting more out of their existing customers all the time. They know that they moment they stop broadcasting their company’s unique approach and offerings is the moment that their competitors start to grab their market share, that they fought so hard to capture. Consistency is the only way.

Small Business Marketing Principle Summary

The most unwelcome guests at any entrepreneur’s dinner table are pride and impatience. Pride forces entrepreneurs to ignore the reality that their marketing is not landing. Impatience forces small business owners to try to accomplish too many tasks with one marketing offering. The most savvy entrepreneurs know that the right way to get 10,000 customers is to make one person aware of your product, and then to make two aware. Eventually, you’ll have 10,000 customers aware –many of whom will be very loyal.

If you would like to learn more about how Saffron Key can help grow your business, check out our Getting Started page and tell us about your company and its needs.

Small Business Marketing Plan

Small Business Marketing Plan

We have been asked many times how we will build our clients’ small business marketing plans.The reason that we get this questions so often is twofold. First, all small business owners need a marketing plan–and they know it. Second, most small business owners do not have one–and they do not know where to start. We offer small business marketing solutions, but here are some tips for getting started on your own.

Small Business Marketing Plan: How do I do it all?

We tell our clients that they DO NOT need to be present on every channel. In fact, our research shows the opposite. The small business owners that post on too many different channels do not typically see much lift from any of them. We recommend using your limited time, energy, and resources to dominate a few channels.

Small Business Marketing Plan: How do I Start?

Now that we’ve assuaged your anxiety about trying to do it all, it’s time to figure out which marketing options make sense.

Small business marketing solutions are about just that — solutions.  Not about channels or tactics or tricks.  The first step is focusing on return on investment and getting in front of the most potential customers.

Each Marketing Investment Must Make Cents and Sense

Our first marketing investment measuring stick is rather simple. Marketing spend must net as much profit as it costs. If a marketing campaign costs you $500 and you only receive $200 in revenue-it’s probably time to pull the plug on that spend. The one caveat is that the marketing lift often takes time and some investments are tougher to measure. That said, this measuring stick is a helpful tool to parse the many marketing options.

Search Marketing is King

Now that we’ve given you a measuring stick to start to shrink the number of options, let’s go one step farther. The second marketing investment stick requires an understanding of customer expectations. In our society, customers are used to finding their own information online. Further, they often come to your website to find out about your company and your offerings. According to Blue Corona, studies show that between 70-80% of people research a company online BEFORE visiting the small business or making a purchase with them. Customers view your website as a reflection of who you are as a company, thus it’s important to portray yourself in the most positive light on the web.

Use the Free Mediums Available to You

Prior to spending any marketing money, small business owners should use the free options available to them. Search, Social Media, and E-mail Marketing can and should be used for free. Write blogs to boost your search results. Post interesting content to capture a larger audience via social media. Also, keep your existing customers engaged with captivating email campaigns.

Small Business Marketing Plan Summary

You do not have to be present on all channels. There have been successful businesses in the past that do not do guerrilla marketing, viral YouTube campaigns, social media, e-mail marketing, billboard ads, etc… More importantly, there will be many in the future that are able to be successful without being present on every channel.

Instead of trying to do it all, think about what marketing investments make sense/cents for your business.

If you would like to learn more about how Saffron Key can help grow your business, check out our Getting Started page and tell us about your company and its needs.

Unlocking Organic Digital Marketing

Unlocking Organic Digital Marketing

Saffron Key was founded to answer one question that all small business owners face: 

How should I market my business?

This large question begets many other smaller questions.

  • What channels should I use?
  • What should I say on these channels?
  • Which channel works best for adoption?
  • Which channel works best for conversion?
  • Do I have to be present on all of them? How often?
  • How do I do it all?
  • How do I find the time to create all of this content?
  • How expensive is that going to get for me?

Organic Digital Marketing

Organic Digital Marketing is the term we use to describe the free channels available to small businesses.

These channels include:

  • Search Marketing: Posting blogs to your website that use keywords and drive your brand
  • E-mail Marketing: Sending emails to your customers to further your message
  • Social Media Marketing: Posting to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, others about the value of your brand

On the other hand, “Inorganic Digital Marketing”  is when you pay for Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads, or an e-mail list. Inorganic Digital Marketing can get expensive without any guarantees for success. Additionally, Inorganic Digital Marketing only works AFTER you have built a strong “Organic Digital Marketing” foundation.

Saffron Key Creates, Distributes, and Measures Organic Digital Marketing for You

Unfortunately, all of these marketing activities take time. 

Saffron Key was created to create content for all of these channels for you. We post to your social media, write blog posts, and e-mails for you and we do it for an affordable price. For what you would pay for a part-time employee, you get a team of seasoned professionals.

Organic Growth Takes Time–It’s Best to Get Started Now

Growing a company means building Search Marketing, Social Media Marketing, and E-Mail Marketing. This takes time, consistency, and expertise. 

If you would like to learn more about how Saffron Key can help grow your business, check out our Getting Started page and tell us about your company and its needs.