2015-10-07 / Front Page

Sunnyside Chamber Hold September Luncheon Meeting

By Thomas Cogan
September’s luncheon meeting of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce, held at Bar 43 on 43rd Street, between 43rd Avenue and Queens Boulevard, welcomed a speaker who was introduced by SCC’s Pat Dorfman as “a genius at digital marketing.”  The speaker, Cat Penfold, said she has spent many years as a writer for advertising agencies great and small and is now the associate creative director of Tenthwave, at 31 W. 27th St. in Manhattan.  She was at Bar 43 to talk to those interested in breaking into digital marketing or improving the digital marketing they already have.  Several in the luncheon audience responded when she asked those so interested to raise their hands and describe their aims.  

Penfold told each one in her audience that “your Web site is the heart of your business” and that marketing should be the process of “making yourself more important than your competition.”  The Web site helps you become familiar with those who are responding to you and they in turn remember you for the attention you have paid them. (The English-born Penfold has a Web site description of herself as one who is “bringing tea, charm and creativity to digital marketing.”)  She advised the online marketers in the room to cultivate relationships with friends and acquaintances that might act as advocates to reach the influencers who are vital for their marketing prosperity.  She showed several marketers’ Web sites, saying that they must be attractive no matter what business is being promoted (one, for instance, seemed to be selling dresses with an early 1920’s look); and must be easily seen on the screens of mobile phones, which have affected online marketing critically in the last 10 years. (Eighty-five percent of consumers spend time on their smart phones, Penfold said, and that number can only increase.)

She stressed that one needn’t be an expert to create a Web site or improve it.  Web site builders such as WordPress or Square Space, among several others, can help.  Take the time to create a good and attractive domain name, she said, and use keywords that describe or relate to what you are marketing on the site.  Add links that will help search engines to find you.  She said that the annual cost, probably between $250 and $350, will be a good investment.

She surveyed the leading social networks, saying that two billion persons refer to them at the present time.  Facebook is used by 71 percent of online marketers; 23 percent of adults use Twitter, which appeals to a younger audience, though you can post to Twitter and Facebook at the same time.  With the ubiquitous Facebook you can connect with relatives, friends, seemingly everybody.  Its algorithms decide who will see your post, she said.  As matters now stand, all marketers need business Facebook.  It’s a mini-ecommerce site on which you can share posts that you’ve decided could help your business.  She warned that it’s crucial to be honest with your sharers about your purpose; coyness might be all right but lying and deception isn’t.   These persons can be reached organically or, beyond a certain point, by paying to reach them.  A few hundred dollars will get you “a million sets of eyes,” she said.

Twitter is something she does not use, she said, because it wouldn’t be effective for her (“people do it when they’re bored”), but she appreciates its value to others, who love its immediacy.  Those using it for business should handle its hashtags carefully, she advised; they can be conversational or confusing. (She has an online relationship with duncanhines.com, the cake mix people, but avoids the hashtag, #duncanhines, which refers to big-bottomed women.)  Pinterest, the second most popular driver of Web traffic, was described by her as a visual scrapbook in which you can upload, save, sort and manage images.  You can pin things that relate to your business—particularly if that business is food.  “The ability to have people pin content from your Web site to Pinterest boards is huge,” she said, but such content must be “beautiful and actionable.”

 Instagram, the place for sharing photographs and videos, is quite simple and is free.  It can handle a greater load of hashtags than Twitter and everything can be posted from your mobile phone, she said.  Its greatest appeal is to photo and graphics people.  LinkedIn is the largest network of professionals and is superior for connecting to potential business partners.

One demonstration of her own that she showed for everyone’s entertainment was a batch of cookies with faces on them that she baked and posted on—where else?—Facebook.  She made the cookies divide and reunite in a lively show that she constructed with a 99-cent app.  She said that when she was done creating and activating her cookies, she ate them.

Dorfman had a couple of announcements.  First, the deadline for submitting craftworks to the Sunnyside Artists Pre-Holiday Crafts Fair is Thursday, October 15.  Email two J-pegs of work to sunnysideartists@gmail.com or, if you’ve no Web access, call 718-909-4806.  Tables are $45.  Mail or drop off payment to “Sunnyside Artists,” 45-06 Queens Blvd. #166, Sunnyside, NY 11104.  Payment may also be dropped off at that address, which is a UPS store.  The Pre-Holiday Crafts Fair will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Sunday, November 8 at Queen of Angels Church Parish Hall, 44th Street and Skillman Avenue.

Second, Dorfman said she has been rounding up signatures in Sunnyside to support the Small Business Jobs Survival Act, now before the City Council.  Look for her.





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