Marketing Your Service-based Business for the Holidays

A lot of businesses will be ramping up their marketing efforts during the upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season. Rightfully so, when spending is over $600 Billion, according to the National Retail Federation. While product-based businesses benefit the most during this gift-exchanging holiday season, service-based businesses kind of get lost in the money sauce. If you've been wondering how do you strategically get a piece of that spending pie with your service-based business, we've come up with a few ideas.

First things first, you have to remove traditional marketing methods out of your brain. As a service-based business, you're probably already doing a lot of educating your audience on what you do and the benefits. It's time to bring out the creativity in your approach to increase your bottom line during this holiday season.

1. Cross-Promoting
You can never go wrong when you collaborate with the right business(es). You have the distinct opportunity to market to another built-in audience of another business. You can start with your former or current clients. For example, you can ask them to record a 30 to 60 second holiday-themed video discussing how your business helped them grow their business. Or, create a gift catalog of your client's products to share with your email list and social media followers. To keep costs down, just make it available digitally and/or charge your clients a small fee to be included and donate the money to a local, relevant charity. To get the full effect of this, make sure your clients are sharing with their networks, too.

2. Social Giving
Speaking of a local, relevant charity, giving is always a win. The key is to ensure it aligns and makes sense with your business. For example, if you're a Human Resource consulting company, then you partner with a workforce development organization to raise money for programming that facilitates mock interviews; make sure you volunteer to participate in that organization, too. You include their information like stats and impact and tie it into your business and share on social media and your email list. Or, you can have a percentage of a your services to be donated to that local organization. Or, if you have an event planning business, you can create a gift certificate for your services and donate it to a silent auction for a holiday fundraiser.

3. A Daily Challenge
You've probably seen those 30-day squat challenges or 30-day support a local business challenge on social media. You can create a holiday-themed one for your business. Since it's already November, you may not want to make it a full 30-day, maybe a 14-day one. For example, if you're a motivational speaker, maybe your challenge will include things like asking your audience to post a video saying their favorite one-liner from you. Or, if you're a graphic designer, have business owners post a picture of their first logo or business card design. Don't forget to repost, RT or share and comment/engage with your audience.

Just remember whatever you do, be creative and never forget to educate the audience. Don't get so caught up in the marketing idea that you forget the very reason you're doing it-for exposure for your service-based business. If you need more help or don't want to do it yourself, call Fresh Touch Publicity and we will gladly get in the holiday marketing spirit for you!

GUEST BLOG: Is a Home Office Right for You?

Everyone wants a home office for tax purposes. With being able to write off portions of monthly expenses such as mortgage/rent, utilities, phone bills, security, and insurance, who wouldn’t want that? But is a home office right for your business?

Just like any other business decision, you should be aware of both the pros and cons before making your decision. Most of the time people only tell you this part of having a home office because it is a pro and everyone wants pros in business. Wouldn’t it be nice to have only pros in your business?

I will admit being able to write off portions of expenses that you will pay regardless is a tempting offer. With your home office being in your house, your commute to work is reduced significantly. Some joke to work in their pajamas which would reduce wardrobe time and office apparel expenses significantly. Both would reduce expenses for you. Wouldn’t that be a perk?! Another pro is having everything nearby even when you are off work. The days of forgetting something at work would be over! The biggest pro is the flexibility! Modern technology has allowed the ability to be mobile. Often times all you need is a laptop, an internet connection, and a place to sit and you have a new location!

Pros
-Flexibility! You can be anywhere and everywhere, working remotely with smart technology.
-Biggest reason: Saving money! Instead of rent, you can reinvest into the business, expand technology, or purchase additional merchandise.
-Spend more time out of your car! Your commute time would be obsolete. Use this time to spend with family or take a much needed nap.

How can you make this work?
You have so many options! We have clients who contract with a “virtual assistant” service. It’s nice having a professional on your team working remotely for digital and administrative support.
There are office solution companies that offer various levels of “virtual office” services. You can have a business mailing address that is not your home and a receptionist that signs for your packages and holds your mail. You can opt for a certain number of days per month to use a furnished office space and/or conference rooms with full audio visual equipment needs taken care of. You can even have a receptionist answer your phone during business hours to elevate your professionalism and save time!
There are many agile ways to operate a business in today’s market. Having client meetings in your home space or coffee shops may not always work for every business owner! Forbes described creative office space here.

Set boundaries:
Family may think you have extra time for errands and ask you to leave your home office space to cater to their needs. They may not respect your work hours and interrupt your productivity. To alleviate this issue, you should set strict hours to alleviate unnecessary distractions.

You think of your home as a place of relaxation. If it is your sanctuary, then there needs to be boundaries so you can truly leave work at work and not “take it home with you.” In order for a home office to be successful, you will need to treat your office space as a place of work. When your work day is done, step away from the computer and mentally “turn off” your work day. A separate, distinct area is best for setting up best practices. Read these 10 tips for setting up a home office.

What’s the downside?

Cons:
-You’ll miss out on foot traffic as a retailer (investing in a quality digital e-commerce website may be a solution, but what about lost sales for customers who want to browse an inventory of options at their fingertips?)
-Credibility – you may be more anonymous and not garner high customer or client credibility without a brick and mortar location for retail (or office space).
-It’s harder to separate your private life from your business life.

How do I handle the accounting? What’s deductible? How do I track and separate work/home expenses?
Even though it’s a good idea to start with a home office to keep overhead low, it needs to be setup properly to manage the expenses and tax deductions. Proper recordkeeping is critical.

Don’t make mistakes that cost you money or get you in trouble with the IRS!
We’re here to help! Contact Hugheys Debits and Credits for your home office accounting needs and get on track with best business practices that will save you money and time.
We’ll show you how to operate lean and GREEN!

Ronda & Cortez Hughey
Owners & Fiscal Officers
Hughey's Debits & Credits

Original blog posted here.

Investing in your Bottom Line

It is Business 101 to care and pay close attention to the bottom line, or profitability, of your business. You must know if your business is making a profit and if it's in the red or if it's breaking even, or if it's making a profit and there is still enough cash flow in the account. If you have the latter going on, then continue what you've been doing. However, if you bottom line is looking unsatisfactory, then check to see where you're investing your time, energy, and money within the business.

You already know you shouldn't be tied down to those mundane tasks in your business that are not generating revenue. Filing paperwork, moving around office furniture, randomly posting on social media, etc are tasks that can be delegated to someone else. It's been discussed that doing those tasks could allow L.O.V.E., loss of valuable energy, to cost you your business.

So what else should you be investing your time, energy, and money towards to increase your bottom line? Your people. Your Process. Your Pitch, that's sales pitch.

Your People are the cherry on top.
There is a saying that you can teach "aptitude but not attitude." Hire people with great attitudes with the capabilities of doing their job and you can always teach the job. You should be creating a culture of innovation and ideas within your business. Give your people a voice because you want their buy-in. You want their great plan for a marketing campaign. You want their amazing design for your Facebook business page. When their happy, it will show in their speech and demeanor. Remember, people buy-into people. You will get new and repeat clients off the strength of your people. Yes, it helps if you product/service is great, too, but make the people happy and they will exude it outwardly.

The Process should be seamless.
There should be a consistent analysis of ensuring that your business has an efficient, simplified process- for your clients and your people. Check social media for comments on a business. Most positive comments relate to how efficient or easy the process was or how quickly their problem was solved followed by great customer service. Invest in getting the client in and out or their start to finish project completed as quickly and accurately as possible. Do not skimp on doing quality work but keep in mind process times. If first quarter, your process time was 17 minutes and now in the second quarter, you've reduced the time to 14 minutes and is still able to provide the same quality work, that's progress. There should be a continuation of analysis for a seamless process.

Pitching like your life depends on it.
Your business depends on your ability to sell. If you're in business, you're in sales. Period. Keep in mind the problems your product/service can solve. You leverage that information in your pitch. You want to engage an emotional connection with the client or potential client during your pitch. Develop relationships with prospects, especially if they tell you "no" on the first pitch. It was shared during a webinar about doubling revenue by Fire Your Boss Coach Raeyvn Jones that "80% of sales are closed after the 5th attempt and only "20% followup after 5 follow-ups." So get your follow-up game up!

The story of your bottom line should tell the tale of how you were willing to invest in it. Be sure your investment creates a good read!

@TJayPR

What’s Your Brand’s Alcoholic Equivalent?

Happy 2016!!! I hope it was everything you spoke it to be and more! If you're over 21 and you were anything like me, then a "spirit" was involved a little bit, somewhere in the celebration. I had a shot of Tennessee Honey (that's Jack Daniels for you non-Tennesseans) when the clock struck midnight. Now, when I'm out being fancy with my friends and colleagues, I usually indulge in a Lemon Drop Martini. As I was sipping one at my fave bar after a productive day, I began staring at the bottles on the top shelf. I'm one of those people who connect everything to business. So I asked myself which alcohol brand is the equivalent to Fresh Touch Publicity. Now if you know me, then you know I am a lightweight, so I was not drunk and I'm not that versed in the differences in the alcohols. So research was in order, and I don't mean taste-testing; I mean using my internet skills. ;-) My analysis came down to cost, value, and perception.

I know that top shelf alcohol tends to be more expensive because it is said to be the best. I think the word "expensive" for regular folks like me is subjective. We all have variations of opinions of what we consider expensive. For me, I am willing to spend more on local, limited things versus the name brand, more popular thing. Again, I relate everything back to business so I understand some of the challenges and limitations that a local, small business can go through in relation to pricing things slightly higher than a chain version of it. BUT to keep it real, I do appreciate and take advantage of some of the cheaper, chain version of things, too.

In the case of Fresh Touch Publicity, we're not cheap but we are affordable and flexible; we offer many ways to get your needs met. I know agencies that charges 10 times what we charge mainly because they have way more employees and administrative overhead bills that we do not have at this time, on purpose. There is only an army of two at FTP, and we bring in freelancers as needed. So I decided that we are much like Ciroc Vodka that there are two masterminds behind the brand but it offers multiple flavors of the vodka to cater to your many tastes. We're working on being a household name. Where is our Diddy??? lol

Now, I love a hookup as much as the next person but there are limitations, people. As a business owner, I am more than intentional in recognizing opportunities that may be beneficial long-term because the return on investment will be more than eating the cost of whatever I didn't charge for. I spoke last year at an event in which I titled my speech "I Am A Value" to explain to the audience that I understand what I bring to the table in experience - failures and successes. Fresh Touch Publicity offers value because we do not take your money without you understanding the realistic goals that we'll be working toward. Our value lies in our honesty and integrity in a service-based industry in which we can be vague about what we can and cannot do but we choose to be transparent. So I decided that we are much like Crown Royal Whiskey that they have uncompromising standards in the way that they mix its ingredients the same way since day one. It is said to have natural ingredients born from the tough weather of Canada. This industry is tough and highly competitive but it is natural for our team to NOT compromise the trust of our partners (clients) just to get over and make a quick buck! Nope! Not interested.

They say perception is reality. I wish that statement would be only part of the truth. I wish the second part of that would be "until you learn the truth," but you would have to be open-minded and willing to be wrong to let that part flourish. The perception of Fresh Touch Publicity is that it should be bigger than what we're working with as far as having an office and employees. All of that sound good. I even had an office space for a little while but, honestly, it was more of a headache to get up, put on clothes, and drive somewhere everyday when there was nothing on my calendar that I had to meet with anyone physically. I've been able to do a lot in my pajamas and laptop. So I decided that we are much like Jack Daniels because its makers perceive it to be ready, but not by a calendar or just by taste, but by the way it looks and smells. Though this method is unorthodox, it seems to be working since the 1800s!

So as you can see there are stories behind these alcohol brands. Which one can you compare your business or organization to? Will you ever look at the top shelf the same again? We hope not so have your next drink in our honor! Cheers!! ((((SIP RESPONSIBLY.))))

What is your brand's story? How can it be relatable to your potential partners? If you're still unsure about that, you need to be asking me here!

Follow me @TJayPR
@FreshTouchPub

Meet the #SimplyGiving Project Scavenger Hunt Participants

MEMPHIS, Tenn.- Seven Memphis-based community leaders and advocates will be representing local nonprofit organizations in a city-wide scavenger hunt during Fresh Touch Publicity's 5th Annual #SimplyGiving Project, a week-long grassroots fundraiser for local nonprofits, October 4-10. The date of the actual scavenger hunt is Saturday, October 10, 11 a.m. beginning at The Candle Bakery located at 2838 Hickory Hill Rd, Ste 11. Back in May, these nonprofit organizations were nominated to be represented during the scavenger hunt: the Memphis HBCU Scholarship Foundation, H.U.S.H. Inc, It's a Girl's World, Old Path Ministries, Our Grass Our Roots, Liberated Audio, and Raising the B.A.R.

The community leaders randomly will select the nonprofit that he or she will be trying to win the grand prize for. They will be paired with a representative of that organization and they will be given clues to different businesses around the city that will lead them to the finish line.

"It was important for us to use community leaders who know the city, who are already supporting local businesses and who advocate for the smaller nonprofit organizations," said TJ Jefferson, Principal Owner of Fresh Touch Publicity. "We choose people who may not always get spotlighted but they're doing the work anyways."

Volunteers are needed to help make the event a success. Sign up here: http://bit.ly/sg5volunteers. We will have a volunteer orientation but if you have any questions before then, contact Volunteer Coordinator Amber Covington at simplygiving@freshtouchpublicity.com
Sponsors and donors, Sign up here: http://bit.ly/1dmd9Ol

 

The people to represent these organizations are listed below:

(Read Bios HERE)

[caption id="attachment_1443" align="alignleft" width="299"]LaShundra Richmond- The Bold Victor LaShundra Richmond- The Bold Victor[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1438" align="alignleft" width="169"]Chris Eggleston-The Enterprising Champ Chris Eggleston-The Enterprising Champ[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1442" align="alignleft" width="200"]Tami Sawyer- The Black People's Advocate Tami Sawyer- The Black People's Advocate[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1437" align="alignleft" width="225"]Aaron Knox- The Hopeful Millennial .... Aaron Knox- The Hopeful Millennial
....[/caption]

 

[caption id="attachment_1440" align="alignleft" width="300"]Ena Esco- The Radio Babe Ena Esco- The Radio Babe[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1439" align="alignleft" width="300"]DeVonte' Payton- The Memphis Choice DeVonte' Payton- The Memphis Choice[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1441" align="alignleft" width="300"]Lucresha Wilson- The Natural Wonder Lucresha Wilson- The Natural Wonder[/caption]

Fresh Touch Publicity is a Memphis-based public relations and branding consultancy company designed to assist nonprofit organizations and faith-based businesses and organizations with maximizing their exposure within their targeted audience, their community and the Media.