How to Start Promoting & Marketing Your Brand Like A True Pro

Brand Awareness, brand management, brand publishing, brand reputation, branded content, Fitness Marketing, market research, marketing demographics, Marketing in the Moment, marketing plans, Marketing Strategy, word of mouth campaigns

Watch this short tutorial on the three no BS things you must continually do to grow your business.

Most small businesses have a limited budget for marketing and advertising and need to better understand where their promotional dollars will be well-spent.
  • Will targeted Facebook ads bring in new memberships or subscriptions?
  • How about creative outdoor advertising?
  • Maybe collaborating with micro-influencers?
  • Partnering with other neighboring businesses?
  • Try a refer a friend email campaign with a promotional offer for each friend who signs up? Should we invest in a new service, like a juice bar?
  • A direct mailer with a big seasonal discount?
An ongoing approach to market research is the beginning of a blueprint for growth for a business owner and it serves two main purposes.
1. It helps the business become more competitive.
2. It will assist in building a more profitable brand.
Good market research should also tell you (if you are open-minded) what services your customers and clients are not happy with, what needs improvement and what you should be offering that you are not.
Do you have questions about building your business? Drop me a line at or comment below.

How to Build Five Star Online Reviews to Fuel Your Business and Career

freelance, Marketing Metrics, marketing muscle, Marketing Strategy, Online Reviews, reputation management, Reviews, testimonials, Uncatergorized, word of mouth campaigns

Zero-cost word-of-mouth marketing is the gold standard of brand ambassadorship and the one thing that will surely build your business, customer base, and client book.


The best way to build online reviews for your business is by designing a superb product or service that delights your customers and clients while delivering an exceptional experience from beginning to completion of a purchase.  Restaurants know this via Yelp and Open Table. Businesses are starting to pay attention to Glass Door.  However, consultants, freelancers, and hired guns also need reviews.



It doesn’t matter what you do or what you offer.  If you’re a nutritionist or personal trainer, or maybe a fashion apparel designer or corporate wellness director. Perhaps you’re a physician, attorney, life coach or yet another creative director, you want to work for five-star ratings.


As I transitioned from marketing and PR agency owner to online business consultant and strategist, I knew that one of the fastest ways to bring in new business was to focus on my current clients’ absolute happiness.


I knew that when they shared their happiness with other people who didn’t know me, I was creating a built-in lead generator for future clients while minimizing my cost per client acquisition spend. What does that mean? Well, this has been going on since the dawn of time, but so many free agents don’t remember to make recommendations and referrals a priority.  You see, my reviews on LinkedIn, Upwork, Angel list, Clarity, Thumbtack and my website help convince and convert those that are on the fence about working with me. They help to get the client to sign the agreement and start the project.


Whether you own a healthy fast food cafe, or you’re a veterinarian looking to build your thought leadership position, great reviews will let everyone know what to expect from you.


So how do you get reviewed? Well if you are pivoting your career like I did or you’re just starting out, you want to create profiles on above-mentioned platforms, like Linkedin. Then you want to find clients and you can do that on platforms like Upwork. Then you want to deliver the goods in an impressive way.  Some platforms will prompt a client to give you a review. Others, like LinkedIn, require you to request a recommendation.  How?Recommendtations

Thumbtack 1




I continue to work diligently for great reviews and recommend you do too. Need help creating your online presence? Let’s connect about what you’re up to  @madelinemariejohnson on Instagram.

Linkedin Pro Finder


Top 10 Retail Marketing Ideas for Small Biz

Pop up Retail, retail marketing, word of mouth campaigns


If you are looking for fresh ideas on how to increase traffic and sales for your retail store, check out where you will find ten creative ways to reach customers and build word-of-mouth marketing to expand your community of shoppers.

My top three favorites –


Harness the power of referral marketing by asking customers to share photos of themselves using your product. – Tracy Willis from N2Q

Focus on high quality attention and market directly to your target customer and no one else. Mary Babiez of Thoughtful Presence

And one from me – create a refer-a-friend marketing automation pop up on your website like this one that I created for

You can read all of the great tips to help your business grow from the professionals here.



Organic Word of Mouth PR

brand reputation, Communications, Public Relations, word of mouth campaigns

It’s because of you Ferris  and how I’m really killing it on The Four Hour Body that I got caught up in a #gram jam today.Yup, all those vegetables I‘m force feeding my hubs every morning, noon and night. So damn healthy.

So, to kick it up a notch, I thought I’d go to my favorite farm to load up for the next few weeks on locally grown. Who knew I’d get bitched down by the owner of Rottkamps  for taking a photo with my iPhone (#nofilter) of their amazing carrots, swiss chard and other bounty of “good for the body” beauty. The carrots were practically posing for us.

photo 2Just a memorable instagram moment away from posting and the owner of Rottkamps stops me, giving me a look of dismay, and asks me how I’d feel if she went into my garden and took photos without asking me. Hmmmm. I want a garden. I wish I had one. However, if I did, and she asked, I would be so excited if she took a photo of my heirloom harvest.

Now never mind the fact that this gem of a quaint farm is not actually listed on Google and it’s a crap shoot finding the place every time you share it with a friend. People love that about Rottkamps. It’s a hidden secret. That’s why they go. There’s a hidden branding/marketing message in here –

I really believe that Ms. Rottkamp thought I was a spy for Whole Foods. Now, embarrassed – hell I thought I was kicking ass, mult-tasking – an instagram shot for one of my clients (a natural, organic and vegan brand), a bunch of fresh cilantro and feeding my family well. Applause.

The most interesting and disappointing lesson learned today was that Mrs. Rottkamp aka the Social Media Police Bully told me that NONE of her vegetables are organic. Yes, they use an old fashioned cocktail of pesticides and chemicals to have her prize peppers look so vibrant. This explains why the Whole Foods in our neck of the woods will not sell such local produce. Yes and she admitted that. As a matter of fact she was proud of it when she said we are NOT an organic farm.

FYI, I bought “local” tomatoes from New Jersey at said Whole Foods Market the other day. Not so local, considering I am over 100 miles away.

photo 3 Now, the second take away today is that I (and I am sure many others) just assumed that Rottkamps is an ORGANIC farm. Just look at the photos. It screams wholesome, pure, back to the earth, simple small farm. Never mind that there is no #natural #organic branding anywhere, but the look and feel, is so well, authentically organic, without doing a damn thing. Sprouts and Wild by Nature couldn’t replicate such a charming setting and organic vibe if they tried.

Super Charge Your Social Strategy

social media marketing, social monitoring experts, Social Relations Specialists, Uncatergorized, word of mouth campaigns

Never underestimate the passion of a fan or the power of a brand using social platforms the way they are intended to be used.

If you are looking for social strategy inspiration, click below for best practices.

Check out the way Revlon Rocks it in Red on Facebook.

Follow the framework with which fans share their favorites like Whole Foods on Pinterest

Inspire them to discuss a common interest  – like fashion with Bergdorf Goodman on Tumblr

Share and share alike with everyone the way Kiehls does on Twitter.

Chef, dad, geek and massive photo lover, Jamie Oliver on Instagram

Hero Marketing

marketing muscle, Measureable Marketing, word of mouth campaigns


Marketing can never substitute great products and services that people just love. Reality is, an awesome product or service will market itself. Any noise made beyond that will just support organic word-of-mouth growth.

Hero marketing begins with great product development.

Socially Obsessed

brand reputation, Uncatergorized, word of mouth campaigns

A series of conversations around the office and a hell of a lot of research has led us to conclude that only your most obsessed fans and closest friends will find you on Facebook, religiously read your blog or bother to RT your latest tweet.  That’s probably like your top 10% VIP customers. They might not even buy anything from you. They just might be completely obsessed with your ish. They are the ones that usually find you when your fresh and fairly new.

We know someone completely obsessed with Saturdays – a menswear shop occupied with surfing, living and working in NY.

One of our favorite past times is studying the people and companies that emerging brands like Saturdays follow. Hell, what inspires them? That’s what we want to know.

Here are a few of our favorites –

  • The divine design at House Industries
  • One good thing a day from Good
  • Well-edited fashion finds and lines curated Mr. Yoda and his team at Aloha Rag
  • Those activating change and generosity at Sevenly

Your “marketing” plan should begin with understanding why these people are so obsessed with you. What is it that you’ve created that resonates with them. That is the key to unlocking your staying power.

Marketing in the Moment

Engaging Customer Service, Marketing in the Moment, Marketing Mavens, marketing muscle, Uncatergorized, word of mouth campaigns

Last week, we received a call from Rain Africa, an international company that makes amazing hand-crafted gifts made from indigenous ingredients in a small rural factory while abiding by a fair and reliable supply chain with a commitment to biodiversity conservation.  Their US store is located near Rockefeller Center in Manhattan and as for many retailers after the holiday season, sales were strong until January. They wanted to know what they could do to boost store traffic and awareness quickly, yet they hadn’t  created a 2012 marketing plan.  They are leaning towards hosting an in-store event.

Yes, an in-store event is a great idea, we explained, but one event will not make a difference. Every day should be an event at your location. We explained the concept of creating a “retail experience” for every shopper that walks through your doors.

We also explained that it is not just one marketing activity that will grow sales, it is a combination of continuous activity that will keep your brand growing.  All small businesses should be working from a plan that includes maximizing on their earned, owned and shared media coverage as well as creating exciting promotions and hosting retail events.

It’s not too late to strategize for 2012. While you are creating your plan for the rest of the year, here are immediate things you can do to help boost sales and traffic.

1. Gently increase your prices in smaller almost unnoticeable but meaningful increments.

2. Monetize your average sale by “up selling” those customers that are already making purchases.

3. Increase how often your customer purchases something from your company with twitter/text promotions that remind them to shop with you.

4. Give your loyal customers an incentive to help you build word of mouth campaigns by referring their friends and family.

5. Increase and strengthen your operational efficiencies with better customer service and customer relationship management.