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Piccolo Marketing Blog

Is Your Social Media Strategy Up to Par?

Posted by Anna-Vija McClain on Apr 25, 2017 11:10:00 AM


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Topics: email marketing, entrepreneur, mobile, video, content, brand, marketing, website, trends, social media, business

Networking 101: Perfecting Your Elevator Speech

Posted by Anna-Vija McClain on Apr 18, 2017 1:05:00 PM

If someone approached you, introduced themselves, and asked you “what brings you to this networking event?”, would you freeze? Or would you be prepared with a thoughtful, thorough, and concise elevator speech?


If you’re unfamiliar with the idea, an elevator speech is a brief, personal commercial you deliver to introduce yourself. Depending on your needs, you can use it while on the job hunt, looking for potential referral partners, or expanding your customer base at a networking event.


In preparation for your next networking event, or simply a passing encounter say… in an elevator… be prepared to pitch yourself with these tips:


  • Be thoughtful. What is at the heart of your business motivations? Take a look at your business goals or mission statement for inspiration. Also, consider the strategies you have in place to reach those goals. Your elevator speech should be constantly changing to reflect your current business needs and to bridge the gap between goal and result.
  • Be thorough. You only have about 10 sentences to make your point, so make them count! In that time, make sure to cover who you are, what you do, what you offer and what you are looking for. Also, be sure to communicate what the benefits of working with you are and how you do it.
  • Be concise. Keep it simple, but impactful. You need to have your elevator speech memorized and deliverable in about 30 seconds! Review it carefully and remove any information that isn’t absolutely necessary to your message. Remember, this is just a snapshot - the following conversations will allow you to expand. It may feel awkward in the beginning, but stick with it and try a few approaches to see what feels genuine. It will take time and focus to perfect your elevator speech, but the reward is worth the effort!

Need help perfecting your elevator speech or overall networking strategy? Give us a call at Piccolo Marketing at 615-348-7768 to get started today!


Ready to test out your elevator speech? Join us for our next networking event with Nashville Locals.


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Topics: email marketing, entrepreneur, mobile, video, content, brand, marketing, website, trends, social media, business

Is It Time to Hire a Marketing Consultant?

Posted by Anna-Vija McClain on Apr 11, 2017 9:34:00 AM

It’s hard to tell when it’s time to hire a marketing consultant. While hiring expert assistance can benefit your business, both your mindset and your resources need to be ready to accept help.


Consider these questions to determine if a marketing consultant is the missing piece you’ve been looking for:


Are you investing a consistent, and appropriate, amount of time into social media?


Forbes recommends 32 hours per month to adequately implement your social media marketing strategy on just ONE platform. So, what if you have several? The hours are starting to add up! While I would argue that your business goals, clientele, and business size will influence the number of hours needed, as well as the platforms you use, the bottom line is this… you are likely not devoting the appropriate, or most efficient, hours to your strategy.


Getting a fresh look and someone to keep up with consistent, relevant posts is usually the first service that is requested from my company.


Do you know what your top keywords are/should be?


To start, keywords are the foundation for your SEO (search engine optimization). Using the right keywords can be the difference between being #100 and #1 in a Google search. Let’s be honest, if you’re not on the first page, or likely the top 1-3, you’re not going to be found without spending some serious cash on paid ads.


Determining what your keywords should be is a matter of gauging and following the trends and terms your customers are likely searching for. Directing your digital marketing strategy to organically incorporate those terms across multiple platforms can often be time consuming enough to require help.


Are you purposely optimizing your content towards your audience?


In order to draw in your customers and keep them engaged you need to speak to them directly. What motivates them? What will turn them away? What do they expect from your relationship? Don’t limit these ideas to content; also consider where they would expect to find this information and how they want to receive it.


The most loyal and engaged customers are those that are able to develop and maintain a personal relationship with an idea, service, or product. If you seek a marketing consultant that can both broadcast and respond to customers, now you are onto something!




If you answered no to any of the above questions, it may be time to consider hiring a marketing consultant! This is a good thing – it likely means you are too busy to address and be updated on all of the ever-evolving nuances of marketing. That is where a professional is handy to guide and direct the process towards a consistent and efficient end – your business goals and, ultimately, bottom line.


For more information about the services a marketing consultant can provide or for a review of your current marketing strategy, give us a call at Piccolo Marketing at 615-348-7768.

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Topics: email marketing, entrepreneur, mobile, video, content, brand, marketing, website, trends, social media, business

Branding 101: How to Manage and Implement Your Rebranding Strategy

Posted by Anna-Vija McClain on Apr 4, 2017 3:35:00 PM


That nagging feeling you’ve been pushing down for months and months? Push has come to shove and it’s time for a rebranding. While rebranding your image, name, or company logo that you put a lot of time and effort into perfecting may sound like your worst business nightmare, it doesn’t have to be!


Rebranding is an opportunity to clarify your niche, promote your growth as a company, and to get a leg up on the competition. With our recent transition from Anna-Vija, Marketing Strategy to Piccolo Marketing, we know first hand the time, effort, and thoughtful considerations that are part of your rebranding journey.


Let’s get started with a few questions we considered along the way that you may find helpful...


Plan your attack. You can’t possibly get where you’re going (the most effectively) without a plan. Answer these questions before you do anything more - 

  • What are your goals?
  • Why are you rebranding?
  • What are you hoping a rebrand will do for your company?
  • What is your budget?

Tell your story. You’ve seen it a lot lately - with videos, pictures, or good narratives, storytelling is a great marketing strategy and a growing trend. Consumers are looking for a relationship or experience, not simply a product, and storytelling helps to deliver that message. When we began to discuss the direction of our rebranding, our story became clear. A small business built for small business. 

  • What’s your story?
  • What connection or benefit does that provide your clientele?

Make your brand relevant. Let’s face it - you are not the only ____ company out there. So, that begs the question, why should someone choose to engage with your company versus the one next door? Rebranding can be an opportunity to reassert your relevance. Consider and highlight:

  • What does your company offer that is unique?
  • How does your personal story translate to the needs and motivations of your consumers?

Broaden your horizons. Don’t just rebrand to rebrand! Rebranding is often a byproduct of growth. As your business has grown and developed, it might not look exactly like your original plans when you set off as an entrepreneur. In your quest to tell your story and define your relevance, consider how your consumer or partner pool may have changed. Make sure to include them in your decision making. After all, they are the ones your rebranding is aimed at appealing to!

Wow! Still not sure where to start? Give us a call at Piccolo Marketing at 615-348-7768 and we can help to guide you through the rebranding process.

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Topics: email marketing, entrepreneur, mobile, video, content, brand, marketing, website, trends, social media, business

Key to Networking: It's Not About the Networking Event

Posted by Anna-Vija McClain on Mar 28, 2017 9:50:00 AM

If you’re like most people, you get nervous for - or even dread - attending networking events. Relax. Count to 10. I have a secret to share with you that will ease all of your fears.


Networking isn’t actually about the event.


It’s about…

  1. The preparation leading up to the networking event. Recall the expression, “practice like you play.” As in sports, the same idea applies to your approach to networking. Consider that the actual networking event is a small fraction of your time. The time you spend preparing your elevator speech, developing your networking strategy and business goals, and researching networking events/attendees is key. This is where you will find and set yourself up for success in networking. Do as the Boy Scouts do and “be prepared!”
  2. The follow up after the networking event. Your presence and active (read “prepped and ready to go”) participation in the networking event is your opportunity to gather intel. Who are the attendees, what are their goals and motivations, and who can you help? Once your data-gathering mission is complete, the real work begins as you start to follow-up with everyone you met. Be purposeful, systematic, and thoughtful here as partnerships are forged here in the follow-up.
  3. The totality of your networking strategy. The three phases - preparation, attendance, and follow-up should work together seamlessly to create your networking strategy. Be sure to schedule time for these activities into your week and be thoughtful about the types of events you attend. Remember, it’s the whole of your efforts that will make you successful in networking.

For more insight into just how to better frame your mindset around your upcoming networking event, click here.


Want to practice? Join us for a casual networking lunch or happy hour with Nashville Locals.


Get prepared with these networking tips from past blogs:

Networking 101: How to Follow Up With a New Contact

Start Off the New Year With a Solid Networking Strategy

Networking 101: Developing Your Game Plan

All of My Best Networking Tips… In One Place!

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Topics: email marketing, entrepreneur, mobile, video, content, brand, marketing, website, trends, social media, business

Small Business Tips: Use Social Media to Boost Sales

Posted by Anna-Vija McClain on Mar 21, 2017 11:55:00 AM

At Piccolo Marketing, we understand that our friends in small business have dreams and goals just as big as large corporations. However, we’re left to dreaming big and achieving our goals with smaller budgets and less manpower. Fortunately, social media, when leveraged properly, can be a low-cost tool that delivers results in less time than a dedicated department.


Consider the extent to which social media, digital programming, and basic technology impacts your everyday personal life. You can use those same principles in your marketing strategy and turn your social media into a productive member of your team.


Try these simple tips:


  • Be yourself.

As a small business owner, you likely started your company with a goal or passion at the center of your business model. Let your light shine! Strive to show customers your passion for your business, service, or industry. You can show your spirit by giving back and setting yourself up as a trusted source for the latest tips or industry news.


In terms of actual posting tips, don’t get lost behind the business name. Be funny. Be serious. Be sad. Be YOU. When it comes down to it, people are drawn to people, not names or products.


  • Be customer-oriented.

While the delivery of the product or service matters, experience is just as important to the customer. Would you rather work with the friendly small business owner down the street who you pass and greet walking your dog each morning or the faceless name on the other side of the phone you reached after guessing your way through telephone prompts? I’m guessing the former.


The customer experience is more than just the face to face time you spend with a customer. It’s the feeling they get when they enter your store or their reaction to a post you shared on Facebook. Ensure your social media lines up with the experience the customer will receive once you get the opportunity to make a sale.


  • Be mobile friendly.

I repeat. Be. Mobile. Friendly.


It’s no longer acceptable that your digital presence is NOT mobile friendly. How likely are you to search for something on your phone versus a tablet or desktop computer? It’s important your online presence is transferrable, presentable, and easy to navigate across a variety of platforms.

Need help to organize, implement, and/or maintain your social media strategy? Give us a call at Piccolo Marketing at 615-348-7768 to get started today!


For more small business tips on how to use social media to boost sales, click here.

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Topics: email marketing, entrepreneur, mobile, video, content, brand, marketing, website, trends, social media, business

Are You Keeping Your Website Up to Date?

Posted by Anna-Vija McClain on Mar 11, 2017 10:38:39 AM


Months. Days. Hours. Agony. Your website is FINALLY live!


Once it is online, our website becomes an obsession. We try to set up the perfect layout, find the best pictures, write beautiful descriptions, and make sure every link is live. Whether you do it yourself or outsource the task, there is the inevitable back and forth of trying to pull everything together and perfect it.


But, have you touched it since then?


Now that you have it, website maintenance should be added as a recurring task because it is a vital part of your marketing strategy. Make sure...

  • Basic info is up to date. Don’t forget to update your website with pertinent information as it changes. While this likely doesn’t happen often, any changes to contact info are imperative to keep updated. Also, if you have a “staff” section, make sure to keep it current with employees, contact info, and important info, such as titles, awards, and pictures.
  • To link your social media profiles. Unless someone directly visits your website or finds you on a Google search, people are likely to connect with you through social media. Make sure your website is readily available on your Facebook page or Twitter profile. Similarly, be sure to include social media buttons in the header or footer of your website so that people can readily connect to you across multiple formats.
  • The content is relevant (and current). If you have a blog, your website is a great place to showcase it. Also, keep up with employee, business, or industry wide awards, achievements, or important news. As opposed to a Facebook or Twitter post, your website gives you an opportunity to provide more detailed information to the masses.
  • To change it up! While you may love your website’s cover photo, it may be time to spice things up a bit. Not only will it keep things interesting, but certain changes may warrant resharing or calling attention to your page.
  • To include it in your marketing strategy. Link to your page with social media posts or include a landing page for visitors to sign up for your newsletter.

While it may not be obvious how to use your website, make an effort to incorporate your website into your marketing strategy. After all, you’ve invested a lot of time, energy, and financial resources into creating it – don’t let it go to waste!

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Topics: email marketing, entrepreneur, mobile, video, content, brand, marketing, website, trends, social media, business

Marketing Tips: How to Keep It Going While You're Away on Vacation

Posted by Anna-Vija McClain on Mar 3, 2017 8:57:00 AM

Spring break is right around the corner… the sun, the sand, the drink in your hand. Keep your vacation a vacation by planning ahead and putting all your marketing efforts in place before you leave. Yes, you do deserve that much needed vacation, but your marketing strategy should never go on hiatus.


To keep your marketing going while you’re away, follow these simple tips for a stress-free, work-free vacation:


1. Plan ahead. If you’ve been working your marketing strategy up to this point, odds are you have a system that works for you. At Piccolo Marketing, we use content calendars, social media automation with Hootsuite, and team member task management through Asana. With a well-structured system in place it should be easy to look ahead at what tasks would need to be accomplished for the time you’re scheduled to be away.


2. Stick to the plan. Rather than letting a task go or getting a week or two behind, build some extra time in the weeks or days ahead of your trip to tackle these tasks early.  If something can’t be done ahead of time, this is a good opportunity to hand it off to a team member with clear instructions and expectations. Regardless of the situation, it’s important to stick to the plan because effective marketing requires consistency, presence, and visibility.


3. Automate. If you haven’t already automated some of your marketing practices, now may be just the time to do so. As I mentioned earlier, we use Hootsuite for scheduling and managing our social media presence. With an automation system, you can manage multiple social media platforms from one central location and take advantage of scheduling features. That way, your marketing will keep working long after you’ve hit the beach!


4. Take a look back. When you return from your lovely vacation, all tanned and relaxed, take a minute to review the processes you put into place. What went well? Where is there an opportunity for improvement?


Wishing you a safe, happy, and stress-free vacation!

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Topics: email marketing, entrepreneur, mobile, video, content, brand, marketing, website, trends, social media, business

Networking 101: How to Follow-Up With a New Contact

Posted by Anna-Vija McClain on Feb 24, 2017 3:01:00 PM


You’ve completed all the preparation and attended all the right networking events. Now what?


Follow up.


This is where the real work of networking begins. As I've emphasized before, networking without following up negates most of the effort you put into reaching your contacts. So, I’ve put together a few key tips to keep the momentum going and your networking a success. The following is a solid strategy to follow up with all your networking contacts.

  1. Reach out to everyone. Many people will decline your follow-up invitation for a variety of reasons. However, sending the invitation helps to build a positive reputation with the invitees.  Not everyone who says they will reach out actually do! Only those who are serious about developing their referral partner pipeline will actually take the time. As contacts get pruned from address books, your extra effort could be the reason your name stays relevant. Everyone else gets weeded out!
  2. Build follow up time into your schedule. You can send out a template invitation and, with the pre-scheduled time blocks, you don’t have to stress over your schedule week to week. It doesn’t have to be a chore for you!
  3. Create a system for yourself. Sending a monthly email with valuable information serves two purposes. It will not only keep you top of mind with everyone you’ve met, but will also put your contact info front and center. When they decide they need your services or they refer you, they will know how to find you quickly
  4. Give. I’m sure you’ve heard it before – you have to give to get. With one of your newly developed referral partners, send a little business their way. This reciprocal networking is invaluable with new contacts. It can strengthen your business relationship and give your customer a solution to their problem. A win-win for everyone.  You don’t always have to have the answer, but you need to know where to find it!

Still not sure where to get started? Give us a call at Piccolo Marketing at 615-348-7768 and we’ll help you get your networking follow-up strategy in line.

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Topics: email marketing, entrepreneur, mobile, video, content, brand, marketing, website, trends, social media, business

Big Marketing, Small Budget

Posted by Anna-Vija McClain on Feb 17, 2017 3:44:00 PM

At Piccolo Marketing, we know your big goals are often backed by small(er than you’d like) marketing budgets. As a marketing-for-small-business expert, we’re here to tell you that the size of your budget doesn’t have to dictate the success of your marketing strategy!


The biggest key to your marketing success is the strength of your marketing strategy. That strategy should include a variety of marketing avenues from print to email newsletters and social media profiles. With the wide array of marketing options that are available, don’t forget that there are many low or no-cost options that you can use to bolster your strategy.


Consider these marketing methods from Inc.:

  1. Create a loyalty program. This can be as simple as providing customers the opportunity to join an email list (with options in-store, point of sale, or a link on your website). Membership in this exclusive club gives the consumer access to birthday coupons, insider sales or discounts, or freebies, such as a free how-to guide.
  2. Harness the power of partnerships. Make your networking and marketing strategies work together. Attend strategic networking events with the goal of developing referral partners. Have your customers been looking for additional, complementary services that you don’t provide? Developing a network of service providers can set you up to meet your customers’ needs, whether personally or in collaboration. Your network will extend the same courtesy to you, should the need arise!
  3. Support a local cause. This is the ultimate in free marketing. Taking the time to volunteer or donate with a local organization can help you to tap into new markets, cost-free. Take care to choose organizations that are meaningful to you, both personally and professionally. You are guaranteed to encounter fellow volunteers or participants that are like-minded, giving you the opportunity to create new connections. When these potential customers find themselves in need of your services, they’ll know where to turn!

Click here for more low to no-cost marketing options from Inc.


Want to learn more? Check out my past blogs for tips on developing a marketing budget, marketing strategy, and social media strategy. Need one-on-one help? Give us a call at Piccolo Marketing at 615-348-7768 or email us at hello@piccolomarketing.com.


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Topics: email marketing, entrepreneur, mobile, video, content, brand, marketing, website, trends, social media, business