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 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…”

By Al Bonner 20 Oct, 2016

On January 1, 2015, Facebook made major changes in their news feed algorithms. The result was a dramatic reduction in the number of posts by businesses that end up reaching their followers (users that LIKE your business). Facebook’s message: Provide a value to your audience and don’t try to game the system. Build a base of followers that find your posts relevant, interesting and useful. Plus one more thing, if you really want your message to get through, you need to pay for it.

The following tips and how to avoid them, are intended to help more of your posts get through and more importantly be “liked,” shared or commented on.  There are many more, but this will give you a checklist to start reviewing the posts you have been making for the last few months. If you don’t change your tactics, even the ones that worked for years, you may do harm to your Facebook ranking. Most of them will simply not work any longer.

1. Posting text-only updates.

It’s simple, users have a greater reaction to images and videos. Not only will your post have a lessor chance of being viewed and read, users will likely bypass your post altogether. Not everyone reacts this way, but results show that videos and images command the highest engagement. It’s best to test your audience and evaluate the performance of text –only vs. image or video.

2. Re-posting or re-using your content.

Facebook does not like re-posting the same content over and over again. They view it as spam and you want to avoid being labeled as spammer. Remember, your posts should provide value. Your links should bring users to the content they expect to receive from reading your headline or viewing the image you post.

3. Encouraging people to take action.

What do I mean by “taking action?” Using words such as: like, enter a contest, click here, purchase something, download, or share. Users don’t want to see posts like that. Facebook views these types of posts as promotional. As a result, your posts will not reach very money people, if at all.

4. Blind Posting

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “ set it and forget it. ” If you post something on your Facebook page and don’t take the time to review how successful it was, you could be wasting valuable time and energy on posts that no one sees. Facebook provides you with a wealth of statistics to help evaluate views, shares, likes and much more. At least once a month, you should take the time to review how each of your posts performed. Just click on the “insights” button at the top of your page.

5. Not taking advantage of trending topics.

If you share articles or videos on your page, do some checking before you hit publish. Facebook runs a list of popular or trending topics . On your phone it’s called Facebook Mentions and on a desktop it’s on the right side of the page. If you add a hashtag relevant to one of current trends or something related to the topic you’re sharing, your post will have a much better chance to reach more people interested in the same topic.

What’s next?

Pick one of two of the above mistakes that you are currently practicing and make a conscious effort to improve or adjust. Then make sure you review the results. Spend some time in your page’s “ Insights .” My other suggestion is to try boosting a post or creating a Facebook ad. You not only reach your followers, you can reach others in your target area as well.

If you need some help, give us a call. We are happy to perform a FREE evaluation of your page and help you create a marketing plan for Facebook or any other media or social media platform you are using.

Call Al Bonner at 785-272-6397 or email at al.bonner@wibw.com


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