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Posted: February 03, 2014

More on how POE can supercharge your marketing

How one small business does it

Steve Baker

(Editor's note: This is the second of two parts. Read Part One.)

There’s an old adage in marketing: “When we say something about ourselves, people tend to disbelieve it but when others say something about us, people tend to believe it.”  Positive earned media is a result of brand behavior. Many consumers don’t trust advertising, but they do trust peer recommendations. This is why earned media is so important to your success. One positive testimonial can have more value than an expensive advertisement.

When you have done something so well or interesting that people want to use their own media to tell others about it, you’re earning media. More importantly, earning media is about engaging with consumers on their terms and gaining trust based on genuine understanding of what interests them.

Building relationships through strong networking is also earned marketing. Build your networks by joining groups, attend events, do public speaking, write articles or an eBook, and meet people one-on-one.

Here’s an example of how one small business combines paid, owned and earned marketing to expand their exposure using POE:

The small family-owned business where I take my cars for service does a great job of combining all three areas of POE. They spend money on a professional direct mail piece that goes out regularly to area homes and businesses (paid). They have a user-friendly website where you can set an appointment and get tips on caring for your car (owned) and they send regular emails with service tips and specials (owned). They have an attractive clean facility with a family-friendly waiting area (owned).

Great customer service is one of the best forms of owned/earned marketing, and they do a terrific job of following up every service job with a personal phone call and a thank you letter (owned).  This sets them apart and gains them valuable testimonials (earned), some of which are posted on their website (owned).

No marketing is free. Remember there’s a cost to each category of marketing — time, money or both. Many small business owners underestimate the cost of their precious time invested in the marketing they do in-house. Owned and earned marketing takes effort and creativity to develop and leverage at any scale but it’s worth it.  If you want your content to spread through social media and for social discussions to spring up around your products or services, you have to put effort into developing your social media channels. You must build your social media profiles, engage with customers and create interesting content. You must also do it consistently, week in and week out. Paying attention to your Twitter account once every five months will not accomplish much.

Everything you do is marketing.  Regardless of the size of your business or budget, the strength of POE comes from the constant realization and reminder that nearly everything you do in your business creates a form of media marketing that falls into one or combined categories of POE. From an expensive TV ad to how you answer your phone, you are creating your brand that will affect the growth and success of your business.

Or, as Poe might say,

“Using POE gave me so many more -

New marketing options to explore.

With my budget not yet capping, suddenly there came a tapping.
YES, Customers happily rapping, rapping at my business door.
I’m rejoicing in new customers, spending money, buying more!
I’ll use POE Marketing evermore.”

Steve Baker is a founder of successful businesses and a business advisor with a passion for every phase of business cycle from startup to exit He’s also a public speaker and author of "Pushing Water Uphill With a Rake," as well as an avid poor golfer. He welcomes your comments and e-mails at steve@PushingWater.com  and invites you to visit his website www.PushingWater.com
 

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