With all the digital tools out there, it’s easy to get caught up in the latest thing, says Joseph Lamberti, an officer at the Union County Economic Development Center (UCEDC). But if you’re a business person whose goal is to win new customers, it pays to develop a strategy for choosing which tools to use and how to use them.
To help business owners make better decisions, Lamberti will present a workshop titled “Digital Marketing & Social Media Intro for Small Business” at the Bordentown Library on Wednesday, August 22, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. For more information, visit ucedc.com or call 908-527-1166.
The workshop will cover business websites, search engine optimization, technology, and traditional marketing. Lamberti, who has worked in the field for 35 years, observes that the sheer number of online choices creates challenges by fragmenting potential customers but offers opportunities by making it easy to target specific audiences.
Lamberti finds that successful marketing comes down to identifying your best potential customer and minimizing waste of exposure. “It’s a mantra I live by for my business and in counseling other businesses,” he says. He suggests several questions that will help you define your ideal customer. What do they look like in terms of demographics, geographics, and psychographics? What are they doing; what places do they visit; what are they reading; what are the viewing; what are their interests?
The closer you can align your marketing communication to where and how they spend their time, the better you will be at minimizing your wasted exposure, which will make you more productive by saving time, energy, and money, he says.
For example, consider a downtown restaurant that benefits from traffic within about five or ten miles. It wouldn’t make sense to advertise to the Washington Metro area simply because someone occasionally comes from there.
If you do some research, you can get an idea of what publications people in your radius are likely to read and what billboards they are likely to see. Based on their interests, determine where they are likely to spend their disposable income. Get onto those social media platforms and establish a presence in the traditional media that appeals to their interests.
Because no single medium has ever completely replaced another as a means of advertising, Lamberti recommends that business owners integrate traditional forms of communication with digital media. When radio became popular, it didn’t replace the newspaper. When television became popular, it didn’t replace radio. All three still exist today despite the internet. And the printed book called the Yellow Pages is still around.
In his role as Training & Technical Assistance Officer with UCEDC,Lamberti writes and updates training curricula and provides individual counseling to students and program participants. People come to him for help with marketing, writing business plans, and getting final reports in order, he says.
He finds that may people are familiar with social media for personal use but don’t know how to make it work for their business. “They know enough to make themselves dangerous,” he says, noting that they often get swept up with the latest technology. But UCEDC helps people decide where digital and social media fit in with their overall marketing and communication strategy. He notes that video is a popular communication tool. But, before creating one, decide if you have something valuable to say, he recommends. Video is a good tool as long as it serves a purpose.
Lamberti says he was fortunate to know that marketing was the career path he wanted to follow while he was a student. While studying at the University of Maryland, he worked on the college newspaper, “Diamondback,” which still exists today. He started in advertising sales as a freshman and was later promoted to advertising manager.
Lamberti grew up in White Plains, New York. His father, a carpenter, and his mother, a seamstress moved to the U.S. from southern Italy in the 1950s. “They put four kids through college,” he says. “Their work ethic rubbed off on me. In my free time, I like doing home improvements, so my father’s career skills rubbed off on me too.”
Lamberti is the founder of SMART Marketing Partners, LLC, which focuses on targeting potential customers and delivering their promotional messages. Throughout his career, he has worked with Money Mailer Direct Marketing, WorkPlace Media, Verizon, GoDaddy, and several other companies.
He holds a master’s degree in marketing from Drexel University and a bachelor’s from the University of Maryland. He honed his teaching and coaching talents as an adjunct professor at the business schools of Drexel, Rowan, and Camden County College, and he served as a consultant for the Small Business Development Center of New Jersey and the Rutgers School of Business, Camden.
Lamberti extols the business website as an effective tool for promoting services and products. So it’s not surprising that he encourages people to explore the UCEDC website to learn how its programs can help them.
Located in Cranford, the organization offers in-depth training programs on business basics, entrepreneurship, and next level business planning. It also offers a program on government contracts and provides assistance with applications. Other services include resource guides, county reports and a mix of business tools. For businesses and startups in need of cash, UCEDC offers loan programs and financial advice.
In addition to the digital marketing event, introductory workshops in August and September will cover the topics of intellectual property; doing business with government agencies and departments; pricing and profitability; financial statements; and the basics of financing.