As we celebrate the last weekend of February (can you believe next week it will be March!?) we take a look at thoughts and insights offered by Elizabeth Stone, President of R.I-based marketing firm Mint Leaf Media.

I recently spoke with Stone to hear her thoughts on everything from small business budgeting to shifts in the marketing paradigm and more. Read on… liz

Q: Describe your current role and chief responsibilities. What does an average day at work look like for you?

A: I am currently President of Two companies—Mint Leaf Media (MLM) and Baby Got Booth—as well as business manager at Materials Science Associates. At MLM my projects change daily based on my clients’ needs. For example, I perform tasks related to SEO, website development, contact marketing, campaign building and more. My goal as President of MLM is to help small business tell their unique stories.

At Baby Got Booth I have more of a sales and marketing roll, connecting with local vendors and clients to see if our photo booth products are the right fit for them. Lastly, at Materials Science Associates I primarily handle various processes, business plans and management of financial information.

My favorite part about what I do is that I love problem solving and helping others. There’s no challenge too great when it comes to my clients.

Q: The greatest marketing challenge that businesses struggle with today and why?

A: The greatest marketing challenge that I see my clients struggle with is as small businesses, they have a low marketing budget. As such, deciding where they should spend their money, and making sure they spend it wisely, is integral.

Q: What’s the greatest piece of marketing advice you can give?

A: Marketing can seem overwhelming, especially for small business owners and individuals juggling many tasks and responsibilities. With so many outlets and so much information, it’s often hard to know where to start. First, it’s important to realize that a strong marketing campaign will take time. Start with small steps and build from there.

Also, over the past decade there has been a shift in the marketing paradigm from a one-way dictation (traditional media) to a two-way engagement format. What does this mean? In the past, marketers would throw out information to the public and hope it resonated with someone. Now, with the development of social media and inbound marketing channels of communication (i.e., blogging, podcasts, eBooks, and SEO for starters), customers can give businesses immediate feedback in a variety of ways. This new way of marketing and collecting market research then means an entirely new way to manage your company’s (and your) public image.

Q: Some marketing trends you expect to see dominate 2016 and why?

A: Branded video content will increase partly because of the power of YouTube (this includes videos on the home page, behind the scenes videos and how-to videos). Additionally, I anticipate buy buttons on social media, which allow customers to directly make purchases without ever leaving the platform, to increase in popularity.

Q: What are some things every company should keep in mind when building an effective marketing strategy?

A: Make sure your message is consistent across all channels. With this in mind, here are some tips and tricks to get you started with effectively marketing your business:

Research: Know your business, know your industry, and know your customer. This will help you create a stronger marketing strategy and better messaging.

Ensure Your Messaging Is Consistent Across All Channels: This will make it easier for people to recognize your brand. Additionally, this approach applies to your social media, website, blog, business cards, etc. And don’t forget your head shots (consistency here helps people recognize you quickly and easily), your logo (repeat and feature it everywhere you can!), and the colors in your logo and on your website. This strategy will help strengthen your brand and guide new clients – or readers, if you have a blog – your way.

Use A Call-To-Action (CTA): Always include a clear CTA on your social media posts, blogs, emails, etc. Not sure what a CTA is? Here are a few examples – “Attend Our Event,” “Make an Appointment,” “Browse Our Website,” “Read My Blog Post,” and “Comment (or Like) If You Agree.” (Facebook Business Pages also feature a CTA button. Make sure to use it to direct your customers where you’d like them to go—whether it’s to your website, blog, or another destination.)

Get Employees to Share Your Content: Social media is a big job. Involve your employees in the creation/sharing of social media content. This will help you reach a much broader audience.

Use Buddy Marketing to Promote Your Business: For example, share another businesses’ upcoming event and they, in return, might share yours. This will allow you to reach an entirely new pool of potential customers.

Want to be featured in my #weekendinspiration blog series? Comment here or e-mail me at telling me what inspirational topic you’d like to discuss!

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