2016 Marketing Tips from Topeka Area Marketers and Small Business Advocates

  • By Al Bonner
  • 21 Jan, 2016
The holidays are now in the rear view mirror. Hopefully you are still on track with your news year’s resolutions. As we approach the end of January, it is difficult to see what kind of a year 2016 will be for small businesses. The economy is still very uncertain. I think we can agree that in 2016, running your business will continue to be a challenge. As digital technology advances, we all struggle to keep up. When it comes to marketing your business, it’s difficult to know what to focus on.

To kick off the year, WIBW asked some of the areas marketers and small business advocates to weigh in on what areas to focus on for 2016. What should you spend more time on, less time? Below you will find tips from those that responded to our request. Karl Klein, Alissa Menke, Jeanine McKenna, Mark Kern and Martha Barlett Piland. Our thanks to all of them for taking time to share their expertise and look into the future.

Karl Klein
Washburn University
Kansas Small Business Development Center

Spend more time connecting with your base and distribute content that drives customer actions. Spend less time on total content distribution without a specific focus or method of engagement.

Alissa Menke
VP Digital Innovation
Jones Huyett Partners

Re-think the way you’ve been doing digital advertising. With the influx of ad blockers and the way Facebook’s been limiting the organic reach of Facebook Posts to a Page’s followers, it’s important to start thinking of other ways to get your message in front of your audience. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t continue investing time and resources into running a Facebook Page or placing digital ads (display/video/mobile), but that they should only be a part of the digital strategy you’re implementing because the share of your audience that’s being exposed to those messages is less than it was a few years ago.

Jeanine McKenna
Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce

Be aware of how your audience is viewing your content. If they are using smart phones and tablets instead of a desktop computer make sure your webpage and content is responsive to that. Content that is not able to be viewed in the correct way will not get you the marketing results that you desire.

Mark Kern
Kern Marketing Group Inc.

Make sure your website is updated and represents your company brand. It’s the first impression most new customers have of your business. Look for ways to penetrate highly trafficked websites in your business region.  Spend more of your time and attention to your website. Remember, social media posting alone is not an online marketing strategy.

Martha Bartlett Piland
President + CEO
mb piland advertising + marketing LLC

Spend more time listening to your employees. Your employees are the power brokers of your brand. They’re on the front lines, dealing with customers every day. Are they happy? Do they share in your purpose and your goals? If so, your brand comes shining through to customers and prospects in every interaction. If employees aren’t invested and in love with your brand, you have a big problem.  

Take time to listen to their concerns and their experiences with customers. Do employees need training? Do they have all the tools they need to excel at their jobs? Are they hearing customer requests for product enhancements or new products? When you hear what they have to say you may discover a gold mine of insights.

Spend less time tinkering with your brand. Stop fiddling around with your logo, your colors, your promise and your slogan.

Epic brands are built through fanatical consistency and faithful stewardship. Changing brand elements on a whim - or because you’re tired of them - wastes money and confuses your audiences. We call it brand fatigue. You get brand fatigue, but your customers rarely do.

Know your brand’s essence: the story, what it stands for and why it exists. Keep it bright and shiny. Guard your brand like it’s the most precious object in the world. When you invest in it properly, it is.

Spend more time on strategy and less time on tactics. It’s so easy to get excited about a fabulous big idea. Sales promotions, a new sign on the building, producing YouTube videos... all of these can sound exciting and fun.

But if they’re not based in a sound strategy consistent with your brand and business goals, you’re putting the cart before the horse.

In 2016, spend less time thinking about tactics and more time thinking about strategy. WHY are you here? WHAT are your goals? WHO are your audiences? HOW will you reach them? HOW you will have enough time and money to get there?

Those big ideas? Measure them back against your plan. Spend some quality time answering the strategic questions first, then look for the tactics that will really help you reach your goals.

13 Marketing Blog

By Al Bonner 25 Jul, 2017

Google recently rolled out their new Post function for all small businesses with a Google My Business account (formerly known as Google+). They have been testing this new tool since the 2016 election. Only a select number of businesses and individuals were used in the trial. Google has also kept the launch relatively quiet. To date there is no official name. Google describes it as “Posting on Google.”

Posts offer businesses the ability to submit updates that appear directly in the search engine results pages (SERPs) when someone is searching for your business. You can use Google Posts in a variety of formats including events (with dates and times), image based, video, animated GIFs and text based posts.

Below is Google’s official description:

 “Posting on Google is a new way to share relevant, fresh content with the people who are searching for you. Use image, videos and even animated GIFs to engage your audience, and ad inline links to drive traffic to specific content. This enhanced format allows searchers to hear directly from the primary source – you – and complements existing results from across the web.”

This is your opportunity to beat your competitors to the punch and start using and benefiting from this FREE tool right away.

WIBW is offering a limited number of small seminars at the station to fully explain Google Posts and show you how to get started and develop an ongoing strategy to bring more customers and potential customers to your website.

All you need to do is email Al Bonner at al.bonner@wibw.com or call 785-221-7151 if your interested in attending one of our seminars.We will then contact you with seminar dates and time options.  You can also contact your WIBW representative.

By Al Bonner 03 Jan, 2017

Here are seven good reasons for having and maintaining a website for your business. Determine which areas of your website need some attention.

Online brochure - Your potential customers should be able to easily find out about you and any of your products online.

More customers –Billions of people use the internet every day. Don’t miss out on your share.

Influence People’s Decisions - With the right content and helpful information, you should be able to influence people that your product or service is better than your competitors.

24 hours per day - Your website is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can always be there for your customers.

Communication with customers - By having updates, “how to” information, events, promotions and information about your product or service, you can maintain an ongoing communication with your customers through your website.

Marketing - Your website can bring you new customers by taking advantage of a wide range of digital marketing techniques.

  Instant credibility - A great looking, well organized, useful website can position your brand and your business ahead of others in your category and give you instant credibility that others lack.


Pick one or two of the areas you need help in and make it a goal for 2017 to invest time and money in improving the performance of your website.

Have a professional conduct a digital analysis of your website for both organization and how it performs on search engines.

If you need help with a digital analysis, give us a call at WIBW TV. We provide free digital reviews.

By Al Bonner 26 Oct, 2016

Title tags or page titles, give users and search engines an accurate and concise description of your website and for the content on each page of your website. Page titles should demonstrate the relevancy or contents of the website or individual page. This element is critical to both user experience and search engine optimization.

Why are Page Titles so important to Google and other search engines?

Next to the overall content on a specific website or web page, page titles have been considered one of most important elements for being found on search engines, or search engine optimization (SEO). They appear in three places. Browsers, external websites and search engine results pages. Below you will see examples of all three places using a recent Wall Street Journal article on the “Plummeting Newspaper Ad Revenues…”

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