Nicole Martins Ferreira
Nicole Martins Ferreira is the author of The Marketing To Do List, a nationally recognized marketing guide that includes more than 100 tips and strategies for businesses interested in improving their marketing prowess. This e-book has been featured on ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox.
“ When a family business is getting started, the sales and marketing functions are usually combined into a single job description, with more emphasis on the selling function,” says leading family business expert, Don Schwerzler. As the family business grows, we see the selling and marketing functions evolve into two distinct but connected business development functions.”
“The problem for many family businesses, they tend to “hide in plain sight” – that is, the marketing functions are not developed properly and that can significantly stunt the growth of the family business in size and profitability. Consequently the family business does not reach its true potential.”
Schwerzler has been helping family business entrepreneurs for more than 40 years and he is the founder of the Family Business Institute and their Internet organization Family Business Experts.com – both of which are headquartered in Atlanta GA.
Marketing is a crucial function for any family business to be successful. When we first read The Marketing To Do List, we found it to be a terrific guide for an entrepreneur that is getting ready to develop a business plan for a new company – to ensure the marketing strategy is an integral part of the vision for the new enterprise.
For small to medium sized family businesses, this e-book is an inexpensive, easy to implement solution to have a more effective marketing program - one that takes advantage of fresh ideas, new strategies and new technologies.
The editor for Family Business Experts had an opportunity to conduct an author interview with Nicole – we hope you enjoy the questions and answers – she really knows her stuff!
Nicole Martins Ferreira Interview
FBE: My family business has a very tight budget, how can I market my business for maximum impact?
NMF: There are countless cost-effective ways to promote your business. You can build a social media presence, e-mail newsletter list or blog. Pinning your products onto Pinterest can help increase online sales. You can let your e-newsletter subscribers know about in-store or online sale promotions. Your blog can build an online presence to help you rank in Google. You can contact magazines and newspapers to promote a specific product. If featured, you’ll notice a spike in sales depending on how much readership the media company has.
FBE: Is it essential to have a blog on my family’s business website?
NMF: Absolutely! There are numerous benefits to having a blog. Having a blog shows that your brand stays up-to-date regularly giving potential customers confidence that you’ll respond fairly quickly. It also helps increase the odds of your website ranking in Google because there are more pages to rank. It also increases your chances of going viral if you write shareable content. Having a blog also builds relationships with website visitors as people can leave comments and give you feedback to improve your writing, your products or your business.
FBE: What are the benefits of social media for small businesses?
NMF: Social media can help turn a small business into a medium sized business. I have seen countless small businesses build strong social presence which have drastically increased sales. It also makes word of mouth easier. If someone who is a regular buyer they may share one of your social media posts and tell everyone how awesome your products are or in other words referrals. Social media also helps connect you with your fan base more easily and personably. Lastly, it gives your brand and company personality. If you engage with your fans, they’re more likely to come to your store or buy your online products.
FBE: Money and time are always a scarcity in my business, where should I put my advertising dollars?
NMF: When it comes to spending money, you need to be strategic. These days spending advertising dollars online is more common and often times better. It’s easier to measure if an online advertisement brought in results or didn’t. It’s becoming more difficult to know whether your print ads are bringing in traffic. The easiest way to measure a print ad would be to have a coupon and measure how many people use the coupon. However, another problem with print ads is you can’t really specify your exact demographic. With Facebook, you can target the age, gender, city, and interests. You can also buy an advertisement on another person’s website and you can see if you’re getting traffic back to your website or not. Online efforts are a lot easier to measure. However, at the end of the day, you need to put your advertising dollars towards where your target customers are.
FBE: How much of my own content should I share and how much of others?
NMF: This is a bit of a tough question. Ideally, all of the content you post should be your own. However, I have seen a lot of small businesses struggle to find time to run a successful business and manage their marketing efforts. If you can barely find time to answer emails, you’ll want to still find time to post and maintain your social accounts. You can use programs like Hootsuite to automate tweets and posts for the week. You can also hire someone to write content for you. For example, I charge $5 for a 300 word article/blog post on Fiverr.com/marketing_girl. Keep in mind that it is possible to run a successful social media page using other people’s images and sharing great articles. Focus on sharing content that is related to your business niche. Remember to check your page frequently enough to answer any questions or comments people make on your social pages.
FBE: How can I get more repeat customers to my store?
NMF: I think the best way to get more repeat customers to your store is by giving them a great experience at the store. Having your customer service reps solve customer problems while asking few questions. Have your cashiers engage with customers about their day, how the service has been so far and make a lasting impression. Have employees offer help to customers who look lost or confused. Offer pricing that is reasonable. Have fun but appropriate music playing through the speakers. You can also ask customers if they’d be interested in joining your email newsletter list so that you can contact them about upcoming promotions.
FBE: Should I have someone designated to do marketing?
NMF: Absolutely! Marketing is a full-time job. Marketing teams help sales people bring customers in. They engage with customers, keep them happy, make them laugh and connect with them. Whether it’s engagement through social media, getting to know a reporter well or helping to create an advertisement, a marketing employee or contract worker has a long list of responsibilities to take your brand to the top. I personally work with small businesses so if you need marketing assistance I’d be more than happy to work with you within your budget.
FBE: How can I get marketing results fast?
NMF: Marketing efforts usually take about six months. I have seen the fastest results from pitching bloggers and magazines. If you work with the right magazines and bloggers you’ll notice a spike in social media engagement, followers/likes and sales. Keep in mind, that it is usually not permanent and you’ll need to find more permanent marketing strategies to bring in sales.
FBE: What’s the first step to market my business?
NMF: The first step to marketing an established business is creating a marketing plan detailing your target audience, marketing strategies and tactics. The plan is just to get you moving in the right direction. As you begin to implement it, you may make some tweaks to it and enhance it. If your business isn’t launched yet, you need to do market research and determine the right niche to target.
FBE: What should I focus to succeed in marketing?
NMF: The number one focus in marketing to achieve success is your customer. Who is my customer? What does my customer want? How can I make my customer super happy?
FBE: Where should I market my business?
NMF: You should market your business wherever your customer is most likely to be for maximum impact. However, once you begin to grow, you can create new audiences to target. I have seen some extreme entrepreneurs focus on promoting themselves everywhere and every chance they get. The more people begin to recognize you, the better opportunities that will come your way with time.
FBE: How do I get to the first page of Google?
NMF: Google is constantly changing its algorithms so that people don’t try to cheat the system to get to the top. Create content that people share, share your blog and website content on social media (Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest). Create SEO friendly articles and optimize your pages without stuffing keywords. Get backlinks for your blog posts. Focus on ranking for your main keywords. Build a lot of good content. You’re going to need many pages on your website to stand a chance of finding success. Be an information sharer and you will find that your brand will grow.
FBE: Where can I get marketing advice from?
NMF: The Marketing To Do List is an e-book I wrote to help small businesses and entrepreneurs find success in marketing. It is packed with over 100 marketing ideas and strategies to make your small business a success, to achieve your financial goals while saving costs.
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