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TOP 20 QUESTIONS EVERY BUSINESS OWNER SHOULD ASK

Owning a business and being successful means never resting on your laurels. A successful company becomes its own best critic and looks deep to find answers to tough business questions that lead to bigger revenues and customer market growth. Put on your business thinking cap and ask yourself the following…

1. Where is our company at now and how did we get here?

2. Where do we want to be in five years?

Copyright Avenue Media Group 2012 (www.avenuemedia.ca)
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Which Social Media Platform is Right For Your Business?

Which Social Media Marketing Platform is Right For Your Business?
In order to run a successful social media marketing campaign you need to know which platform will work best for your business. It’s worth getting this right, as the 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report* states that:

85% of all businesses that have a dedicated social media platform as part of their marketing strategy reported an increase in their market exposure.

And

58% of businesses that have used social media marketing for over 3 years reported an increase in sales over that period.

Large corporate businesses that may already be household names are going to have a very different approach to social media marketing than a small, local business – social media marketing is definitely not one size fits all!
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5 Essential Business Steps: Company Budgeting

For a new or existing business, most budget cycles include five steps.

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Grassroots Marketing Idea #5 The Power of Word of Mouth Advertising

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Of all the forms of advertising that are most powerful, word of mouth is one of the cheapest and one of the most effective.  One person who trumpets your praises can end up bringing you several new clients because of their words.  Likewise, one client who trashes your business to family, friends, co-workers and neighbours can cause you to lose customers and not ever realize why.

Why is word of mouth so powerful?  For one, there is the trust factor.  A person who tells someone that they like your service, skills, and honesty usually is explaining your attributes to someone who trusts their judgment.  They might be talking to a spouse, sibling, parent, friend or co-worker, but their endorsement carries a ton more weight than if the person is reading an advertisement or brochure.

Secondly, there is the issue of what the teller is not.  The person singing your praises is not a radio jingle, or newspaper layout.  They are a living, breathing testimony to your company’s skills or service.

Copyright Avenue Media Group 2012 (www.avenuemedia.ca)
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In An Ever Changing Competitive Landscape, Keeping A Business On Top Means A Constant Learning Curve

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The competitive landscape for modern businesses –be they large, small, new or established–is shifting at an unprecedented rate. There was a time when market share was easily captured and locked up by the largest players, carefully guarded by huge ad firms. That is increasingly no longer the case. Social media and the immediacy of the internet has meant that the hearts and minds of consumers can be won –and just as easily lost– almost over night. And it can be done without the massive ad budgets of days gone by.
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Grassroots Marketing Idea #2 Keeping an Eye on your ROI

Return on Investment (ROI) has a very important place in marketing – even in grassroots, community based marketing that you do yourself.

One of the most overlooked aspects of most small businesses is tracking the Return on Investment (ROI) that marketing efforts yield.  Sure, most managers or owners track profit margins and at the end of a pay cycle, evaluate relative success or failure on their ability to make a profit for the business.  What most cannot tell you, however, is how much money they are making on their marketing investment or what they can expect in terms of return on investments over the lifecycle of their advertising expenditures.

For this article, let’s use a local day spa as an example:

A spa business will purchase equipment to make money from its use beyond its initial costs.  When we spread those costs over the lifecycle of the equipment or project, we get an idea of how much that investment costs us per year and how much we recoup with each use over the term of its service to the spa business.  The difference between expenditures for the equipment to break even and the amount of money we make from the use of the equipment during the equipment’s term of service is the Return on Investment (ROI).

Copyright Avenue Media Group 2012 (www.avenuemedia.ca)

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As paid reviews proliferate, earned media skills are more important than ever

Earlier this month, Todd Defren wrote eloquently about the importance of a solid media strategy, noting that, “Earned Media is far and away the most effective influencer of consumer trust.” (The emphasis is Todd’s.) Pointing to the Edelman Trust Barometer, Todd notes that “‘traditional’ news is not only the most trusted source of information, but also is growing.” Trust in “someone like me,” within the Social Media category, is growing even faster.

With a lot of discussion in communications/marketing circles turning to conversion, it may be tempting to shrug off earned media as a discrete effort. After all, a lot of communicators are focusing their efforts on breaking down silos. There is a growing understanding that people don’t stop to check provenance of the content they see (e.g., “Was that YouTube video originally a paid TV commercial or just some content somebody cranked out?”).
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Golden Rules of Small Business Marketing

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Marketing is always a difficult subject to discuss with small business owners.  If you happen to manage a very busy company, you might not even see the need.  Any expenditure you make getting a client is a necessary evil, right?

How you view marketing expenses is vital to seeing their worth.  If you view it as slapping an advertisement into the local rag to keep your name out there, then yes, it is probably a necessary evil that you will resent from the day you start marketing or advertising your dental practice until the day you stop doing so.  If, however, you view marketing as a way to bolster clientele, increase revenues and get your name out there, marketing and advertising is actually one of the lower cost investments you make in your business.

Marketing skill requires a little bit of savvy and a lot of common sense.  The first, bedrock rule of marketing is that your goal is not the slickest or most expensive plan out there, but the plan that in the most cost effective manner attracts the largest audience for your business.

Copyright Avenue Media Group 2012 (www.avenuemedia.ca)
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Grassroots Marketing Idea #6 Marketing is an Investment in the Success of your Business

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Marketing is always a difficult subject to discuss with small business owners.  If you happen to manage a busy or successful company, you might not even see the need.  Any expenditure you make getting a client is a necessary evil, right?

How you view marketing expenses is vital to seeing its worth.  If you view it as slapping an advertisement into the local rag to keep your name out there, then yes, it is probably a necessary evil that you will resent from the day you start marketing or advertising your business until the day you stop doing so.  If, however, you view marketing as a way to bolster clientele, increase walk-ins and get your name out there, marketing and advertising is actually one of the lower cost investments you make in your business.
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Marketing versus Publicity: What the Heck is the Difference?

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Wondering what the difference is between marketing and publicity? The main difference is that when you market, you are talking about your products and services from an obviously biased point of view. Publicity is when others talk about your business, hopefully in a positive light. 

Is it important for you to seek out and secure small business publicity? Absolutely! It is most effective should be done in conjunction with a strong marketing plan.

Information coming from another source, such as a newspaper article or magazine editorial always holds more weight to the reader. It is human nature – if you read it in the newspaper, then it must be true!
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Grassroots Marketing Idea #3 Avoid the Most Common Marketing Mistakes

Advertising can be tricky.  Like any form of advertising, there are methods that work for some industries, and methods that do not.  Figuring out how to capitalize on the types of advertising that works best takes time, money and common sense.

TARGET THE RIGHT MARKET

Your advertising should always be geared to your particular market.  It is surprising how many businesses advertise to people that will have no interest in their services or lives too far away to frequent their establishments.  People, for instance may drive an hour for a special occasion dinner at a top notch restaurant, but it is unlikely they will do the same for dry-cleaning.  So your advertising has to be pertinent.

TARGET THE RIGHT AGE GROUP

Make your message age appropriate.  It makes no sense to advertise in periodicals or on the air to a market that will not pursue your services.  Advertising financial services on a teen focused radio or television show is missing the mark, and wasting your marketing dollars. Your advertising should be age and content appropriate to your target market.

Copyright Avenue Media Group 2012 (www.avenuemedia.ca)

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Grassroots Marketing Idea #1: Low Cost, Effective Community Advertising Ideas

Generating customers is the key to any business.  In a down economy, depending upon your industry, this can be a tricky process.  With effective marketing, and a well-balanced plan, you can continue to attract new customers and grow your business and revenues.

Without new customers any company will falter.  It is great to have an established business, with many loyal and repeat clients, but as you well know, people age, die, move away, and stop frequenting your business for many other reasons. Attrition inevitably will set in and without bringing new customers in, your business is at a severe disadvantage.

How can you grow your business?  It is easier than you might think.  The most important thing to remember is that the key to attracting new customers is to get your name out there for everyone to consider.  ‘Top of mind’ are golden words that every business owner should strive to attain.

Copyright Avenue Media Group 2012.

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2187 Oak Bay Ave Victoria, BC V8R 1G1 Canada
2187 Oak Bay AvenueCABritish ColumbiaVictoriaV8R 1G1
+1 250-595-7870avenuemedia.ca
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