Know your Audience

(Submitted by Melissa Carter, Business Development Specialist, Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

Whenever I speak to a class about digital marketing, the first thing we talk about is your audience. Who is it that you are trying to reach when you are using social media? Knowing your audience really helps decide what platform(s) are best.

marketing-954674_1920 (2)First, create your “target” customer. Most businesses can narrow down their audience through a series of demographic and psychographic questions: How old are they? Are they married? Where do they live? What brands do they like? What influences buying behavior? These questions can be answered through anonymous surveys, casual questioning, or, if you already use Facebook, the insights tab.

While determining your audience, also understand why they should buy your product or service. Are they buying it to inspire them? Does it solve a need, simplify their life, or improve an opportunity? This will help with content down the road but also helps define your audience.

Once you have answered these questions, determine what platform(s) your audience is utilizing in terms of social media and how your audience shares news/information. If your business sells clothes/accessories for teenage girls, utilizing Instagram and Snapchat would be the best avenue for the audience. While Facebook is the most popular and widely used social media platform, many teens are not utilizing it, at least not regularly.

Lastly, follow your competitors and see how they are attracting your similar audience. What do you see them doing well and how can you position your business to attract and retain your audience.

It’s always a good idea to evaluate your audience annually and make any necessary changes to the customer profile.

National Small Business Week – May 1-7

(Submitted by Melissa Carter, Business Development Specialist, Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

It’s time to honor all of our great small businesses in Southern Ohio. Whether you are a single entrepreneur or have many employees, this is the week to celebrate Small Businesses. Here are some initiatives to increase awareness and sales this and every week.

Yes we are open - clipart1. Join your local Chamber of Commerce – This can help with networking, promotion, and collaboration.
2. Partner with another business – Cross promote a product. Hold a promotion celebrating both businesses. It’s a great way to add new customers.
3. Incorporate social promotions – Celebrate National Small Business Week with a special hashtag, or use this week to restart your social media exposure.
4. Thank your employees – This week is a great time to thank your employees. Take them out to eat or have lunch catered in. Or a simple thank you note is just as thoughtful.
5. Set new goals – Use this week to work with your staff to determine summer marketing, new products, increase awareness, or professional development.
6. Refresh – Does your office need spring cleaning? Is it time for a new logo or new freebies? Why wait, start today!
7. Support Other Small Businesses – Shop local all week!

Direct Marketing Food & Agriculture Blog

(Submitted by Christie Welch, Program Specialist, Direct Agricultural Marketing, OSU South Centers)

marketing-strategies-426545_1280 (2)The direct marketing blog brings you the latest marketing news and trends as well as training opportunities.

2016 Marketing Workshops in Ohio
February 17, 2016 at 10:30pm by barrett.90@osu.edu
Having trouble keeping up marketing your business on social media?

Join us to learn free and low-cost tools to assist you in managing your on-line presence to maximize your business opportunities. Learn practical tools, trends, and strategies for 2016. This session is brought to you by Ohio Proud and OSU Extension.

There will be 4 locations to choose from, each location will be held from 9 AM—1 PM. The cost is $15 per person.

March 16 – ODA in Reynoldsburg, OH
March 17 – OSU Extension, Clermont County
March 22 – Agricultural Incubator Foundation, Bowling Green, OH
March 24 – OSU Extension, Summit County

For a copy of the flyer with more details and registration information, go to: http://go.osu.edu/2016marketing.

Marketing tips for the new year

(Submitted by Melissa Carter, Business Development Specialist, Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

ornate-1045572_1920 (2)With a new year, brings a time to start fresh or revamp your business marketing. Take time this month to review your current marketing strategies and determine what is working, what may need to be added, and what you could get rid of for 2016. Here are a few online marketing tips to get your business energized for the new year.

1. Engage with your customers – Whether it is through face-to-face interactions or through social media, talk to your customers. Learn what they like or dislike about your products/services and ask them to leave feedback.

2. Incorporate brand ambassadors – I’ve seen many Etsy shop owners doing this for the New Year. Get a handful of customers who will showcase your product for you. They would either get the product for free or a reduced rate and they would be featured in your marketing campaigns and they would market your product on their sites as well.

3. Think mobile – If you aren’t incorporating the majority of your marketing into mobile friendly options, you are missing out. Nearly 75% of Americans own at least one smart phone and it’s their main entry to the Internet (Source: U.S. Smartphone Use in 2015) Make sure your website is mobile friendly and your emails are optimized for multiple devices.

4. Go live – Periscope and other livestream services are very popular. Does it fit your business to livestream with your customers? Maybe have a weekly stream on your industry, your products/services, or some fun facts about your business.

5. Simplicity is best – With social media platforms, it’s better to do one or two really well then trying to be mediocre on multiple platforms. Choose what your customers are mostly using and invest in it.

If you have any questions about marketing, feel free to contact any of the Small Business Counselors at the OSU South Centers.

Marketing for the Holidays

(Submitted by Melissa Carter, Business Development Specialist, Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

While many individuals have already taken advantage of Black Friday or Small Business Saturday, there are still many days left in the Holiday Season. As a business, here’s a few ways to entice consumers to continue to shop at your location.

christmas-bauble-1063070_1920 (2)1. Offer gift cards/certificates. The simple and easiest gift for anyone. If your products/services are seasonal, gift certificates are a great way for your business to stay relevant in the off months.

2. Bundle products for an “under $25” or “under $50.” A lot of gift exchanges are a certain dollar amount so take the guess work out of the cost for the consumer.

3. Know your limits. If you are selling online, know how many items you can produce before your shipping deadlines.

pastries-213646_1920 (2)4. Offer flash deals or discounted expedited shipping for those last minute shoppers.

5. Do a two-for-one deal, so the buyer can keep an item and give an item as a gift.

6. Promote little items as stocking stuffers.

7. Ramp up your social media marketing – stay current in the eyes of the consumer. Offer a “Facebook only” discount or promote products/services that would be good gifts.

candle-771106_1920 (2)8. Offer free gift wrapping – one less thing the shopper has to worry about!

9. Generate a post-holiday discount to entice customers to return.

10. Create a discount around giving back – have customers bring in can goods, coats, or a new toy for a discount on a purchase.

11. With the hustle and bustle of this time of year, it is good to have adequate staff on hand to create a positive experience for the customer.

Happy Holiday Marketing!

11-10-2015 From Hobby … To Business

(Submitted by Melissa Carter, Business Development Specialist, Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

ScreenHunter_636 Oct. 30 13.57From Hobby…To Business
Learn how to market and sell your crafts online.

Date/Time:
11-10-2015
10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Location:
OSU South Centers Endeavor Center
1862 Shyville Road
Piketon, OH 45661

Cost:
Free

To Register:
Email Melissa Carter at carter.1094@osu.edu or call 740-289-2071 x222.

Meet the BizTeam featuring: Christie Welch

(Submitted by Kimberly Roush, Program Assistant, Ohio Cooperative Development Center and Business Development Network, OSU South Centers)

Program Specialist,
Direct Agricultural Marketing

Christie Welch - Office

1864 Shyville Road
Piketon, OH 45661
740-289-2071 x234
welch.183@osu.edu

Education:

Bachelor of Science in Agriculture

Professional Experience:

Christie currently serves as the Program Specialist of Director Agricultural Marketing at The Ohio State University (OSU) South Centers.

Christie began with OSU South Centers, as a Research Assistant with the Horticulture Program before moving to Program Coordinator with the Business Development team. She advanced to Business Development Specialist and worked with a variety of small businesses to provide information and education in business management, marketing and finances. She then focused her attention on farmers’ markets and provided business training and education to Ohio farmers’ markets and their vendors/ producers.

Christie also served as the Program Manager of the Ohio Cooperative Development Center (OCDC), which is dedicated to enhancing economic development in Ohio and West Virginia by establishing new and strengthening existing cooperatives. Most recently, Christie is using her expertise and knowledge to serve as the Direct Agricultural Marketing Specialist working with local food producers to grow their businesses.

Community/Personal Business Experience:

Christie and her husband own and operate a small fruit farm in Ross County and sell at local farmers’ markets. They also have pick-your-own and retail sales on the farm so she knows from experience the steps needed to be successful as a business owner.

Christie is actively involved in the Chillicothe Farmers’ Market, where she has served on the board for the past seven years.

Christie has a strong interest in the economic development of rural Ohio and is especially interested in family farms and agribusinesses with this region.

Why do you think OSU South Centers is so successful?

“I think the benefit of the South Centers as a whole is the access to information. We offer resources in so many different areas of business development. Someone can walk in the door with questions and we can help them.” ~Christie Welch

Meet the BizTeam featuring: Kimberly Roush

(Submitted by Kimberly Roush, Program Assistant, Ohio Cooperative Development Center and Business Development Network, OSU South Centers)

Program Assistant,
Ohio Cooperative Development Center and
Business Development Network

Kimberly Roush - Office

1864 Shyville Road
Piketon, OH 45661
740-289-2071 x232
roush.143@osu.edu

Education:

Bachelor of Science in Communication from Ohio University focus in Organizational Communication

Associate of Applied Business from Ohio University focus in Office Technology

Professional Experience:

Kimberly Roush has been employed by OSU as a Program Assistant since 2008 providing support for the OSU South Centers Business Development Network team programs (cooperative, small business, manufacturing, farmers’ markets, and international trade). Currently, her primary focus is to provide administrative support to the OCDC. In her role as a Program Assistant, Kimberly provides technology and educational assistance and training as well as creating marketing articles and materials.

Kim was also an Educational Technology Specialist as part of a two-year pilot program in OSU Extension to increase technology use and provide instruction and assistance with projects.

Prior to her role with OSU, Kimberly accumulated administrative experience through positions in a broad range of industries including education, energy, insurance, architecture, automotive retail, and engineering.

She also serves as Chair of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Science Staff Advisory Council.

Community/Personal Business Experience:

Kim serves as a volunteer reviewer for the local annual Lions Club Peace Poster Contest, where artist from 11 to 13 years of age create a themed (a different theme is chosen each year) poster for a monetary award and a chance to compete at state, regional, country, and international levels.

Why do you think OSU South Centers is so successful?

“It is most certainly because of the dedicated people at OSU South Centers. I interview clients that have worked with our business counselors to write success stories. All of the clients comment positively on the excellent service and commitment they receive to help their business to become successful.

Not to mention that most of the team have or have had businesses of their own so they know personally what business owners go through to create business success.

I have to say I am amazed daily at how so many really good people (my coworkers) can be located at one location under the OSU South Centers umbrella.”
~Kimberly Roush