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Web.com Small Business Toolkit: FedEx Small Business Grant Program (Contest)

October 17th, 2012 ::

FedEx Small Business Grant Program

You could win a grant of up to $25,000 from FedEx. In its first-ever nationwide small business grant competition, FedEx will award a total of $50,000 to six U.S. small businesses. Be able to tell a compelling story about your business and explain how you will use the money to grow.  The top winner will receive a $25,000 grant and the remaining five winners will receive grants of $5,000 each. If your business has fewer than 100 employees, you can enter by completing a profile to be voted on by Facebook users. Voting has already begun and will end on November 24, 2012.  In December, FedEx will review the entries and select and announce the top 100 finalists based on their contest profile and the number of votes they receive from Facebook users.

Social Media Small Business Success Stories: Part 1

February 14th, 2012 ::
This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Social Media Success Stories

Social Media Success Stories Part 1

I’m a firm believer in benchmarking to learn new skills and to tweak my knowledge base.  Studying what other successful marketers have done well, and avoiding others’ mistakes, is an efficient way to gain a competitive edge.  Here are eight social media small business success stories, broken into two articles, to inspire and to teach:

Success Story 1:  Take a quick visit to The Prospecting Expert’s social media sites, and you will find our first example of social media success.  The Prospecting Expert, founded by Steve Kloyda, is a B2B consulting firm to help sales professionals refine their prospecting skills.  Here are the tactics in Kloyda’s bag of social media marketing tricks:

  • Kloyda has made impressive use of video and podcasts to expand his social reach and convey information in an clear and interesting way.  Does your content translate to these media?
  • His social media channels share consistent branding, though use of Kloyda’s photo and logo across all platforms.  Clean up your own image by checking your platforms for consistency.
  • Kloyda’s content is mobile through the offering of an iPhone app directly on his site.  While custom apps may be expensive, they offer considerable value for on-the-go customers.

Success Story 2:  Click on over to Coconut Bliss, an organic dessert company whose products became well known through social media marketing.  Here is what Coconut Bliss does to make everyone scream for their ice cream:

  • The company shares fun experiences of customers eating their ice cream to show the brand’s friendly personality and delicious products.  Does anyone on your staff know how to take great photos?  Invest in a camera, and share photos across all your social media platforms.
  • Coconut Bliss gets fans engaged by running promotions and contests exclusively on social media.  Consider launching your own contest to grow and excite your fan base.

Success Story 3:  JamaicansMusic is an online music channel and quite the social media success story.  Using their social media savvy, the company grew their fans to 1.5 million in only four months!  Here’s what they do best:

  • JamaicansMusic keeps fans coming back for more by offering contests, free music and games to encourage Facebook fans to revisit their page and share it with friends.  What can you do to encourage repeat visits to your own page?
  • Visitors to JamaicansMusic’s website know instantly that the company is social because there are three opportunities – right on the home page – to connect socially.  Are you sending enough social signals and providing plenty of opportunities to connect?

Success Story 4:  You don’t have to be a large company, or even one with multiple employees, to be a social media success.  Ana White, a self-described “homemaker” who is really a carpenter, runs a website that empowers women to take on carpentry projects.  White has over 51,000 Facebook fans who enjoy her DIY furniture projects.  Here are her smart and simple tactics:

  • White publishes free how-to guides for building furniture, and she asks fans to post pictures of their finished pieces.  Fans enjoy sharing with each other, and White understands that this sharing provides great user-generated content.  How can you get your own community involved in the content creation process?
  • White has created a community and tended to it without overshadowing it.  She comments on roughly half of her fans’ posts, and she doesn’t post all that often.  However, her fans constantly post and answer questions for each other because the community has been set up for real communication.  What can you do to take your own Facebook communications from one-way to a place of real community?

Next up: More inspiring stories in Part 2!

Image courtesy of creative design agency Arrae

Contests, Content and Keywords: 3 Online Marketing Success Stories

February 9th, 2011 ::

coinsHubSpot recently released an eBook written by David Meerman Scott called 11 Examples of Online Marketing Success.  Because I love to learn from other companies and apply their successes to my own business, I couldn’t wait to read it.

Here is what I learned from a museum that used a contest, an e-commerce site that used content, and an industrial manufacturer that used keywords to energize their online marketing efforts (more success stories to come in future blog posts!):

1. Use Contests to Generate PR and Supercharge Your Social Media Marketing

This is a rather extraordinary example, but it is worth including because it is so darn clever!

Last summer, the Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) in Chicago decided to hold a very creative contest.  They wanted a Web-savvy person to live and sleep in their museum for a month, explore it and share their experiences via a blog and social media.  A 24-year-old Chicagoan, Kate McGroarty, won the contest, which included the 30-day museum-living experiment, $10,000 in cash, an array of tech gadgets and lifetime membership.

The contest was covered by mainstream media channels.  Once she was living in the museum, Kate blogged at least once a day, generating a steady flow of comments.  She created videos and uploaded them to YouTube.  She tweeted and created a Facebook page, which has nearly 4,000 likes and is still up (even though the contest ended at the end of November 2010).  Her page invited people to visit MSI’s own Facebook page, which now has over 17,000 likes.

Lesson: Use a creative contest to generate publicity, reach your target audience and expand your presence on social media.

2. Create Unique Content to Attract and Convert Leads

Creating unique, valuable content can really ignite lead generation, as e-commerce site Suitcase.com learned. Last year, they launched a survey via an e-mail invitation that queried customers on luggage usage, travel habits and other luggage-related questions.  They packaged the answers into the Consumer Luggage Report and placed the report on a Web page on their site where visitors could download it.  That page generated a 20 percent conversion rate, and the report was even picked up by Reader’s Digest.  As a result of sharing their knowledge, Suitcase.com has become a thought leader within the rather crowded online luggage e-tailer space.

Lesson: Repurpose content to create buzz, position your company as an industry leader and attract and convert leads.

3. Leverage Keywords to Improve Quality of Leads

I love this example, because it shows how a company in a very unsexy industry can greatly improve lead generation with a very basic online marketing tool: keywords.

SRS Crisafulli sells dredging and pumping products worldwide.  In order to effectively reach their numerous target markets, they decided to do some competitive keyword analysis.  They began using highly searched keywords to determine what products were most in demand, and they created content based on that information to educate potential customers.  By doing so, SRS Crisafulli has been able to generate more high-quality leads that are sales-ready.

Lesson: By understanding your potential customers’ search behavior and needs, you can create the educational content that turns a website visitor into a strong lead.

Have you held a contest, turned a survey into a report, or used keyword research to supercharge your online marketing efforts?  We’d love to hear about your successes!

Image by Flickr user Ca Ribiero (Creative Commons)