I’ve been a business owner my whole life. I owned one of the first web development firms in San Luis Obispo. I started what later became the second largest virtual tour company in the country. I sold that to what is now the second largest newspaper group in the country, and got a chance to try my hand at the newspaper business.
I grew an IT company from 15 employees to 40 in less than 2 years. And I’ve provided consulting to countless business owners over the years. Bottom line: I’ve seen a lot. People often ask me what key factors I look at when considering my involvement in a business, so here they are:
1) Risk vs. reward
What do I get for my sweat equity? Can I turn a little money – and a lot of hard work – into more money?
2) What’s the income potential?
Can this make me the kind of returns I want?
3) Recurring income
Do I have to fight for income each month, or do I build up recurring income the longer I work at it?
4) Am I excited to be a part of it?
I love technology, I love helping business owners. I want an excuse to NEED the new iPhone.
5) Freedom with my time
Do I have to open my doors each day at the same time? Can I take a vacation without the business falling apart?
Some industries absolutely must use mobile marketing to survive, but using it well can be difficult. There is so much to learn both on the marketing side and the technical side. Read on to learn how you can easily and effectively integrate mobile marketing into your business plan.
Older cellphones cannot properly display the same sites as newer smartphones or tablets, so your links need to lead to different sites for different phones. If you use a flash player on your website, only provide the cellular link.
Do not send too many offers on mobile platforms. Stick to the essential ones. With this you know that your customers will not tire from your messages and look for to see all you have to offer.
It is important to have your own dedicated short code. The price tag is higher, but this will help to protect your brand. Doing this will also protect you legally.
Every successful mobile campaign should have a home base. Your mobile presence should be about driving people to the home base, or keeping in touch with people who already visit your home base. Do not ever base everything completely on a mobile marketing campaign.
Remember who you are talking to if you are going to make phone calls, they are people whose lives you are interrupting. Realize that is an issue and act accordingly.
Check to verify that your mobile web site works on every popular mobile web browser in use. It’s important that your messages work no matter what type of phone your customer is using. It’s going to be a lot easier for you to use a simplified message, rather than trying to make a custom message work across all platforms. Mobile marketing and the KISS principle work well together.
Be sure to test mobile websites and ads on multiple mobile devices. Some mobile devices use special browsers, and others have limitations based on their screen size or resolution. Your website and content might look different on each device. Your mobile marketing campaign should be tested on all popular devices, to be sure that it looks right on each one.
Creating a mobile app with lots of helpful information for your target market is a great mobile marketing strategy. Any apps that give users helpful hints or useful information are wildly popular. You can use your app as a lead-generation tool for other products, or sell the app directly for profit.
Understanding how mobile marketing works is very important if you want to use it to help your business reach as many people as possible. The points in this article have hopefully given you a better understanding of how mobile marketing can work for your business. Use the pointers presented here as a starting point.
With all the technology that is now available, content is being consumed in many different ways and on many different devices. While desktops and tablets are big players in the game, mobile devices seem to have a big influence on click through rates and browsing. In 2013, mobile content marketing will generate a large return on investment if done properly.
We gathered research from our corporate blogging platform client, Compendium, and email marketing software client, ExactTarget, to show the impact of mobile marketing over the past couple of years and what is yet to come. When all the data was put together, there were some startling findings:
- Open rates on mobile devices have increased by 300% from October 2010 to October 2012.
- Mobile email creates twice as many conversions as social activities or search.
- Mobile may not mean “on the go.” 51% of US mobile users browse, search, and purchase on mobile devices at home.
- Web visits on a mobile or tablet device are highest on Thursday at 15.7%.
- SMS marketing messaging is becoming more popular, with 31.2% of agencies using this tactic to increase click through.
What is the state of mobile content marketing? Get in the game, or lose the opportunity for click throughs, conversions, and engagement.
I’ve been a business owner my whole life, and have a much larger list of what I’ve done WRONG than what I’ve done RIGHT. I’m constantly obsessing over how to grow my business; do I need more advertising, is the messaging right, will I get a higher open rate if I sent simple text emails instead of HTML, and on and on.
It’s easy to lose sight of business fundamentals as we’re approached by new opportunities to spend our money, uhem…’invest in higher ROI and more measurable small business marketing solutions.’ I’ve tried them all. Some work, some don’t…but few things have stuck around over time. When I need a good laugh, I open up the scrapbook and take a stroll down the ‘advertising/marketing’ expense column of my P&L and reminisce about all of the dollars I spent trying to grow more dollars. Nice.
Then I had lunch with a buddy of mine years ago, and when I expressed my frustration with this schizophrenic world of advertising/marketing, he looked at me with a calm grin on his face and said “Alex, the key to growing your business is relationships. You need to make more of them each day, and invest in the ones you’ve already got. Simple as that. If you stayed in touch with everyone you’ve ever done business with, what kind of impact would that have on you right now?”
There’s me: deer in headlights. So simple, and obvious…dammit! But that has little to do with the shinny gadgets and widgets I love to spend money on. Now what!?!
At the core of every successful business is a good CRM (Client Relationship Management) tool – a way to help organize and manage those relationships that are the life blood of business growth. Different industries have different solutions, but the premise is the same: know who your customers are, and treat them as an important part of your business growth by investing in a relationship with them.
This is not an easy thing to start, but once you’ve made the investment and committed to making it a part of your growth strategy, you’ll never run your business the same way again.
You may have seen the statistics – one study claims that more than 80% of small businesses that invest in mobile marketing see increased business as a result – but how can you go about capturing some of those gains yourself?
Small Business Computing recently looked at a few companies that are engaged in mobile marketing to find out.
Ron’s Auto Repair Center of Ames, Iowa, uses Yodle, a service that helps small businesses with mobile-optimized websites, listings on Google, Yahoo and Bing maps, and paid-search services across multiple desktop and mobile outlets. The service doesn’t require much sophistication to use. Using a unique tracking number, Ron’s Auto Repair can tell where calls come from and see how many of them are a direct result of online and mobile marketing spending. The service has so far been worth about $9,000 in new sales a month, the business estimates.
Rok Bistro of Sunnyvale, Calif., uses FanMinder to send out marketing messages to all channels, including Twitter, email, texts and Facebook. Mobile coupons have turned out to be a good marketing tool for Rok Bistro. The coupons, which are trackable through FanMinder, allow the restaurant to see how many people click on the offer and redeem it at the restaurant. When a customer shows the server a coupon on his or her mobile device, the server simply clicks a button to redeem it. In the restaurant, customers can also scan QR codes or send a text message to get an immediate discount and sign up for the Rok Bistro mailing list.
At a minimum, all businesses should have a mobile-optimized website, and make your website mobile-friendly by placing your location and contact information in a prominent place. Clarity, simplicity and speed matter most for mobile users, so make sure it’s clear what you do and how you can help customers. And monitor mentions of your business on Yelp and other sites that can influence consumers.
Adapted from Small Business Mobile Marketing Strategies That Work by Vangie Beal at Small Business Computing. Follow Small Business Computing on Twitter.
Have you ever had the opportunity to spend time around someone who knows what they’re doing, and calls “BS” on people when they don’t? People react differently to a person like this; usually they are offended or sheepishly make themselves scarce for fear of being called out themselves.
But there are some that rise to the challenge and learn from such refreshing talent. Last weekend, the Masterminds team got to spend two days with Jeffrey Gitomer, world renowned sales coach and author, and it was a refreshing exercise of self discovery. He didn’t show up with a bag of tricks, some magic formula for success or a stack of books to sell us. He walked in the door, sat down and started building relationships.
“What’s your name, where are you from? Why are you here? Where do you see yourself in 3 years?” Jeffrey inquisitively prodded my team to learn more about them. He later commented, “I can learn a lot about the way someone will trust you based on where they’re from and some of their prior experiences.”
Where were the closing techniques? Where were the slick one-liners? “Relationships”, “Trust”…I thought we were going to talk about sales!?!
Early the next morning, Jeffrey and I walked into a bagel shop to grab a quick bite. Jeffrey bantered with the staff, running them through the paces to see if they were on their game. Visibly thrown off at first, the staff quickly became endeared to him. This was not your average walk in and go customer. I could see them thinking, “This guy is interested in what we do and how we do it.” We learned one of the cashiers is the owners’ daughter, and what their top selling bagels are. I’d bet money we could have sold them ANYTHING at that moment.
I finally got it. So simple, so obvious, once you see it in action. Sales is not about being slick, with cute PowerPoints and polished one-liners. It’s about connecting with who you’re talking to, genuinely having interest in their goals and dreams, and being a part of that plan for their success.
We talked about the ‘salesman switch’ – when you go from a normal, interesting human being to a soulless sales robot. “Mr. merchant, who currently does your advertising? What is your budget? Let’s talk ROI…” Ugh! Is ANYONE having fun in that conversation??
When asked on Monday what the greatest lesson I learned from Jeffrey was – it was to be authentic and true to myself. I love business, and I love to help people succeed. I am going to keep my “sales switch” to ‘normal Alex mode” and be myself. I challenge you to do the same.
You can learn more about my good friend Jeffrey Gitomer and some of his training courses at www.gitomer.com
How do you build an enduring brand with loyal followers? As marketers, how do we focus on mastering loyalty marketing initiatives, and stay relevant and consistent with an amplified global competitive landscape?
One of the biggest challenges facing marketers is gaining and retaining customers. According to Mark Di Somma, what customers need at first is awareness, authenticity and excitement over the brand in order for a brand to gain top-of-mind. But once customers are passionate about a brand, they need different things. They don’t need to be sold to, according to Di Somma, nor do they need to be reminded that they’re making the right choice every time they buy. They need to feel rewarded in order to make the decision to lock-in and stay loyal to a brand. Often at times, marketers offer no real sense of reward and ignore their loyal customers. So how do you sustain the appeal for those who believe in your brand – establish brand loyalty.
Brand loyalty is built on the foundation of every interaction your customer has with your service. The key to brand loyalty is to always meet or exceed expectations with every customer encounter. When customers become loyal, they not only buy your product/service, they become emotionally attached to your brand. They may recommend your brand to their friends and family, develop an emotional connection, and act as a brand evangelist. These recommendations known as “word-of-mouth” marketing, continue to be most effective, as they can articulate the value proposition of your brand, and address an emotional connection that resonates well with others.
At Couch & Associates we build a loyal customer base which we hope results in brand advocacy, by continuing to engage and deliver consistent brand experiences to our customers. To deliver compelling value across the customer lifecycle, we developed FIREFLY, a loyalty marketing initiative that defines a clear strategy for how to engage with customers along different stages of the buying cycle.
To help ensure your customers will remember your brand, we’ve outlined six (6) steps to build brand loyalty:
1) Establish brand storytelling – Create stories that communicate the personality, values and experiences of your brand. Genone Murrary, Course Director in Internet Marketing at Sail University, argues that companies should base these stories by analyzing and understanding the personality, values and experiences of your customers. Create a brand story that connects with your product/service and target demographics. Don’t equate your brand story with a list of products, services or prices. Build your brand story by determining what sets your company apart from your competitors and what establishes a unique identity for you (unique selling proposition – USP). Create brand storytelling and experiences both in-person and online.
2) Connect with your customers – Be present at touch points which matter most to your customers and provide an emotional connection. As brands are battling for higher affinity, connect and engage with your customers on a regular basis. Increase awareness amongst your customers. Provide your customers with value and motivation and create a community that builds buzz around your brand.
3) Anticipate their needs – Don’t start selling to your customers, listen to their needs and focus on what your customers want. Your customers are looking for the next experience, so offer them additional value or incentives (i.e. loyalty cards or programs), as these customers are typically more profitable and will most likely reciprocate by staying loyal to your brand.
4) Deliver on promise – Make it a habit to deliver happiness every step of the way. Show your customers that you truly care by surpassing their expectations. Offer something new or exciting and stay true to your brand mission and promise.
5) Be consistent – Consistently delivering the same message and performance through all lines of business is reassuring and helps keep your brand top-of-mind. Being consistent helps re-affirm your customers’ trust and credibility in your brand, and helps provide clarity of distinction from competitors.
6) Deliver personalized experiences – Digital marketing enables us to connect with customers in different ways. Drive a strategy of conversational marketing that orchestrates one-to-one seamless messaging across all channels. Profile, segment and analyze your customer base and past buying patterns and create personalized, two-way interactions with your customers that are relevant and customized. Don’t group your customers as stats. Keep your focus on building customer relationships.
To establish brand loyalty you must live by your company’s core principles and go above and beyond customer expectations. Go the extra mile to set your brand apart from anyone else. Determine your company’s inside advantage. Find something uncommon about your offering, and find a way to become well-known to your core customer base by offering a differentiation. Kevin Roberts from Saatchi & Saatchi describes the goal of marketing as the creation of “loyalty beyond reason.” Marketers should focus on creating more brand loyalists and “brands that create an intimate emotional connection that you simply can’t do without. Ever” Your existing customers are the most valuable to your business, so start to create an emotional connection and reward them.
As a marketer, how much effort should you invest in growing brand loyalty? Do you believe that if you attain brand loyalty, everything else will naturally follow?
Click here to find out more on how Couch & Associates brand loyalty marketing initiatives can help keep your brand top-of-mind with your existing customers.