Facebook Live for your business

My #1 priority is to help my clients grow and attract new customers.  Right now I am talking to  my clients about Facebook Live.  As a full service Marketing Professional, I keep on top of all marketing trends to educate my clients.  Clients are  busy being great at what they do, that they miss an easy solution. Most clients want to find affordable ways to make their business stand out and Facebook Live is just the thing.

#1 its free-you broadcast a live from your business Facebook account

#2 you can do it yourself, your employees can do it, anytime

#3 it has a live interaction, so you can answer questions during the broadcast and it also has great shelf life- people can still watch it later because it lives on your Facebook page

81% of people are going on line to research a product, service or business, it is important to find ways to get noticed.  I have talked about using social media for your business in previous posts and  Facebook Live is a great new tool to build a one on one relationship with your existing  customers and potential new customers.

Here’s how you can use Facebook Live to showcase your business.

Retail Business: take a tour of the showroom, present what new merchandise has just come in.  You can create a virtual showroom to entice customers to come in.

Fitness Coach or Gym: build a relationship with potential clients. Show the work out space, demonstrate simple exercises.  Answer questions live and present special offers.

Service Business: Facebook Live can show you doing “your thing” in action.  You can invite a satisfied customer to join you and share their story to highlight real world success.

Auto Dealers: Take potential customers through a test drive of a new model.  Show people how to do the simple things they need to know-like change the time in your car 🙂

Below is a link to a local pre owned auto dealer using Facebook Live to showcase cars and do special promotions.


Adding Facebook and Facebook Live to your traditional media mix is an affordable way to build a one on one relationship with your customers.  It costs nothing but your time and passion.

A few things to think about before you “go live”.  Think of it like television, you are speaking directly to your audience.  Think about the goal of the “live episode” and do your best to stay on course. Remember its live, you may stumble with your words and that’s ok.  You will get better and your following will build.  A little quirkiness will be endearing and work well.  My most popular video to date had a cameo of my dog in it, real can make you likable.  Give it a try and let me know how it goes…and ACTION!










Snapchat- a commentary: is it the new TV and the new ads

I have recently jumped back in with both feet to Snap chat.  I love it.  It has changed some of my habits with media, which I find an interesting thing to “watch”. I would consider myself a busy, hard working adult.  I am by no means the busiest but lately  I only have about an hour of “chill before bed time” these days.  My old habit is to watch TV in bed, this has been my favorite thing to do for YEARS.  I still love TV, however on certain nights of the week when there isn’t a favorite show on, I will just go deep on my social.  I will watch all the snap stories, scroll forever on Instagram, search around Twitter etc. I am beginning to watch my  habits change, this evolution has occurred over the last 6 month or so.  And I find it fascinating.  If you told me last year I would trade in my precious TV time for watching strangers (and friends)  on Snapchat- I would have told you, you are nuts. I will continue to monitor this from a marketing and time spent perspective to see where this takes me. I am a student of life and this is very interesting.

Additionally,  just in the last few weeks, Snapchat has added ADS to your story feed.  When I first heard the news, I thought “ugh” but  I have experienced it for the past few weeks and  I like the ads.  The creative is very good, lively and fun-like Snapchat. I think that is the KEY- the creative should match the environment.  If you hate advertisements, you can tap through it, which I think is good for the user feeling in control.  This is not as good for the advertiser.  I will be interested to hear more about the data in the coming months  and percentages of people who swipe by or view the ads.The cool factor will carry the wave for awhile, but in the end the clients need for a strong ROI will override the cool factor.

When the discussion turns to the ROI for clients the term target-ability will come up.  Snapchat is a younger tool, Snapchat started out for kids and today more adults and businesses are prime users. I wonder when the UBER target-ability will come into play. Many of the ads that I am served are not directed at me.  Although I am very flattered they think I am so young and hip.  That being said, many of the messages are wasted on me because I am not 15. I can still appreciate a good ad, but I will be very curious to see where the target tool will go with Snapchat.  They have a lot of information about the user, so the ads could be incredibly targeted- some day.  This product continues to get a lot of press, chatter and attention- more to come.



Half year-check in & Happy Fourth of July

Happy FIRST of July.  The year is about half over for the year 2016.  A nice long weekend is coming up, as we observe July 4th on Monday and many businesses are closed.  It is a great time to assess the plans you made in the beginning of the year and see how you are tracking.  I am spending some time reviewing my work plan and life plan to see how I am doing today.  This is not  time to say ” bad Alison”,  but to look at -what is working, what needs a tweak and what do I need to completely revamp and re-energize.  To be honest with yourself and understand that: things come up, plans change, customers needs change-today more than ever our business culture needs to recognize the shifts and adapt towards them or with them.

One of the areas I am working on is,  this,   sharing opinions, ideas  and knowledge with you.  This,  on line page that goes into the universe.  Sometimes it strikes someone and they enjoy it and gain some nugget of info- that brings me joy.  Sometimes,  I am just clicking away for my own enjoyment.  But I like to do it, I think it has value, so I want to continue to find away to make this more of a priority.  This is one of the things that seems to fall off the list when life gets busy.  I need to find a away to make this more manageable.  So what does that mean? Shorter messages, setting an alarm in my phone ” time to write something” – not really my style.  I like to write when it strikes me.  I am sure, I am not alone with this,  I follow many people on social media who talk about this topic.
I will give this some time to marinate and hopefully something will come to me that will help me improve on this for the later half of 2016.

So- HOW are you doing with your business plans for 2016?  What one small change could you make today to help get you moving the direction you desire.  The year isn’t over.  You have time to effect WHATEVER you put your mind to .


Have a Happy Forth of July- God Bless America

Things I say and believe

Happy Friday. I hope everyone had a productive week and is ready to recharge for the weekend. I think we all have things we say ” all the time”, things that we  become known for saying.  I thought I would keep things light and share some of my “sawhill-isms”. Things I learned and adopted as my personal code from an early age in marketing and sales.

  1. Be kind and respectful to everyone. The intern today could be the CEO who hires you in 10 years.
  2. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Look your best, show up on time and be prepared-always!
  3. Do business with people,  who do business with you.  Whenever possible I like to return the loyalty and buy goods and services from my clients. I just believe with my whole heart is the right thing to do.
  4. Do everything with a smile.  Dealing with people can be tough some days. Handling every situation, both good and not so good with a smile, will keep things moving forward in a positive direction.
  5. Do the hard things.  Most people get tired, lazy and bored- they will give up. Send the thank you notes, remember birthday’s and anniversaries, pick up the phone or drive over, offer assistance and ideas with out expecting anything in return to your best customers (that comes back to you 10x), actually listen, with your ears and heart-you will learn so much.


I will continue to share my “sawhill-isms” and I would love to hear some of yours.  Have a great weekend!


Sometimes you have to re-pot yourself to grow

I have a small tree in my home that has been struggling  in the last year.  The leaves fall off, it looks spindly no matter what I did.  I gave it more water, less water, more sun, less sun, nothing seemed to make it happy again.  Until recently, it occurred to me that I have never re-potted it.  That lovely little tree has been in the same pot since the day it came home.  I don’t know how many years ago that was, but it was awhile.  And just like that,  I popped it into a new pot with fresh soil.  I could almost hear a little sigh of relief that it would now finally be able to grow again.  I was hindering its growth by keeping it in the same small pot.

Sometimes life is like that, especially personal relationships and business relationships.  We stop growing where we are planted and we need to be re-potted.  I know people that have  been fired from their jobs, or lost a business,  that is an abrupt re-potting. I have experienced both business and personal abrupt re-potting in my own life, so I know what I am talking about.  And trust me, I was one unhappy plant at the time.  But I can say from my own personal experience, from each of those uncomfortable times I grew- I grew in glorious ways.

People are typically adverse to change, they get in a comfy spot and settle in.  In business today that can be deadly. Words in today’s business landscape are: nimble, agile, evolving etc none of which says, “grab a blankie and nestle in”.  Its hard.  How can you look at your business critically and recognize where you need to grow and change. Take a hard look at the things that keep you up at night.

Here are some things to think about:

Could you focus more time on cultivating new clients, if you fired that one that drains you?

If you gave up some control and brought on a partner or investor,  what could you gain?

What growth could you see if you left your first location for a new, bigger, prime location?

What could you out source so you have more time to do ” your thing”?

What do you need to learn or get better at to be more successful?

Sometimes life will change your pot, sometimes we do it for ourselves- when we decide to grow,  we can do it anywhere!


Vacation Perspective on business

First off I am back!  I took a vacation. First full week off in so many years I can hardly count.  It was hard to go, but I loved it so much.  It was good for my mind, body and soul.  I am the type of person who likes to go places and do things.  But I was unprepared for how much I loved this vacation.  Lots of firsts for me: new country, new adventures- it was fabulous.  I think everyone needs to get outside their safety zone, and keep growing.  My wish for  everyone is to  have at least one vacation this year that feeds your soul.

Every morning I would walk the beach to think, relax and see what gifts the ocean brought me that day.  I like to look for shells, it makes the walk more interesting when you collect prizes. So, while on one of my walks, I was looking for this certain shell that another girl had found the day before.  I picked up shell after shell- they were broken, imperfect in some way.  I held out hope, eyes scanning for the one, big, perfect shell.  I could find plenty of small ones that were perfect but the big one was not to be found by me.

This made me think about businesses today.  Everyone wants the million dollar over night success business.  The Mack Daddy- Super Duper, Huge Business.  But like those big shells, it is very rare.  It takes so much work, time and patience to build. If you are a big business or a big shell, you have to withstand a lot of turbulence to make it on to the shore in one piece. The ocean tides, storms and mother nature are not unlike business competition today.  Many big businesses are broken with poor quality and bad press like  Lu Lu Lemon.  Or they are crumbling under their own weight and are filing Chapter 11, like the parent company of Eastern Mountain Sports.  Some times, too big isn’t, too good. Lu Lu Lemon and Eastern Mountain Sports, at one time were at their peak, today there are some cracks in those shells. Businesses can change owners, management, location and more..but they are never the same.

The smaller shells, can easily glide over the rocks, catching the wave to make it to shore successfully.  I was able to collect many beautiful little shells. Just as their are many  successful smaller businesses that are thriving and growing, providing excellent products and services.  I’m sure you can think of a local restaurant you love, where the food is perfect every time.  A local car dealer that goes out of their way for you with service, providing you a loaner every time.  Small shells, beautifully perfect!


Beach Morale:

If your business is a small, perfect shell be proud.  Know you have the swiftness to ride the waves of change easier than your bigger competition. If you are a large business, and have not been beaten by the sea, be grateful. Take care of your customers and employees they will help you weather a storm.  For any business, be ready for any storm and catch the wave of success Mother Nature provides.


Little shell




Marketing Math-does it ever add up?

ROI- Return on Investment. Since I started working in advertising and sales , this is a common question.  20 years ago the tried and true way to know your advertising was working was because customers brought in your coupon from the newspaper. Fast forward to today and a long list of advertising channels, how do you figure your ROI and what to spend?

There are many formulas out there that will take into account all your expenses and help you get to the penny.  A solid rule of thumb is 5-10% of your gross, if your business is under 5 million a year in gross sales.  This will vary  by years in the business, strength of your category and your own level of comfort.

Where are you spending your marketing dollars right now? Make a list of everything from google ad words to hiring a media consultant.

Question: Do you know where your leads are coming from? Do you know where your sales are coming from? And are they coming from the same place?

Marketing works in many ways:

Branding will get you on the consumers “mental list” of choices.  I need to buy a new bed, I am familiar with these 5 stores because I have seen them on television, heard them on radio and saw them online. This type of advertising builds a relationship through the selected medium.

Call to action or price and item medium, attempts to urge a customer off the “i’m thinking about buying a new bed” into ” that’s a good deal,  I want that bed”. Newspaper still does this very well with auto dealers, liquor stores or any business that needs to showcase more than one item and price point at a time.

Geography and search advertising has grown into an affordable and highly targeted advertising tool.  Google ad words have saved  businesses money. When it works, the ROI is amazing. The trouble with it is, it waits for you to want it, “the bed”.  If you already had a list of stores you are  familiar with from brand advertising, and you are  googling the closest store to buy the bed, it is unlikely you  will switch your course of action because of a google ad.   However,  the geo-target-ability is phenomenal.  If I am looking to get my nails done it does me no good to see a place in NYC when I am in Boston. I don’t care how good it is, I need that service here and close by.  For the most part Google knows where I am and serves me businesses close to where I am at the time of searching.

Ok, back to your math.  Once you have listed how much you are spending with each advertising source, tool or adviser, match that up with where your sales are coming from. You know where your customers are coming from, right?

Car dealers do this in a simple way, they check the car radios of customers, people who come in for service or for a test drive. They use that information to help them make marketing decisions.

You can simply ask customers where they heard about your business.  It’s not always accurate since people are busy and bombarded with so many media messages.  But it’s a start.  Starting a dialogue with good customers will give you lots of valuable information, you can use to attract more of those good customers. If you are only using one advertising channel ,this is a great test or validation that you are advertising in the right place.  The ROI results will be pure.

Now take a hard look at the spend vs results. Does it add up?

Many large advertisers have switched main stream media dollars into digital advertising. There definitely seems to be a trend in that direction, but be careful.  Mc Donald’s and Coke have millions of marketing dollars to play with, you may not.  If you do, that’s fantastic, and please call me. What I am suggesting is a more modest approach, that will vary by business and individual strategy.

From the information you just learned, identify your most successful brand advertising channel and continue with that.  This will continue to put you on the mental list of target consumers. Then add in your geo and search, so when they are ready to buy and they search, they find you.  There are many digital options and this landscape continues to change daily.  We will talk more about re-targeting and Facebook advertising and more as we go on.

My hope for today is to give you something to think about and a basic plan to start sharpening your adverting ROI. Feel free to send me questions, I am happy to answers as many questions as I can for you.