Category Archives: Marketing

Life is Yours to Waste

20 under 40 headshot - 2013It seems about once a year, a great video shows up in my inbox and challenges me to STOP and take a moment to make sure my juevos are intact.

This video, called “This is Water” narrated by David Foster Wallace, reminded me that we all have a choice with how we perceive the world around us. The only variable is whether we have the guts to make the choice to be happy.

As a serial entrepreneur, I have learned a lot about myself and people in general over the years. The first thing I tell someone who’s interested in starting a business is DON’T! If that doesn’t deter them, I ask them WHY they want to start a business. The answers astound me sometimes.

“I want to open a sandwich shop,” a good friend said. My reply: “If you’re great at making sandwiches, then make sandwiches for your friends and family on a nice Saturday afternoon – don’t open a sandwich shop!” Owning a successful sandwich shop has VERY LITTLE to do with whether you make good sandwiches. You have to find a location, negotiate a lease, borrow money for equipment, hire and train staff (or work 18 hours per day), advertise, buy produce, deal with spoiled produce, deal with the health department, get a point of sale system…and you haven’t made a single sandwich yet!

There’s nothing wrong with working for someone else – some people get paid to taste ice cream all day! If in second grade someone asked what they wanted to be when they grow up, and the answer was “ice cream taster,” everyone would have laughed. Who got the last laugh?

My brother said it best to me, “Alex, the difference between you and most people is your capacity for pain.” It took me a minute to appreciate this compliment (at least I think it was a compliment), but he’s right. I thrive on multitasking, I love to build things. I enjoy putting ‘systems’ in place to grow a business. I not only LIKE the pain of running a business, I REQUIRE it to be happy. I know this about myself, and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Life is YOURS TO WASTE. Yes, you have a choice – and that choice should be based on what will give you joy in life, not on being afraid.

I’ve screwed up many times in my life, more than I care to admit, but even during those tough times, I took comfort in the fact that I tried my best and gave it hell. No regrets. I challenge you to do the same.

Using Mobile Marketing To Improve Your Business’s Visibility

Mobile marketing is a new way to reach a massive audience. Take some time to get to know more about how you can use mobile marketing by reading the pointers below.

When you consider what to include on your mobile page, remember that it’s important to say as much as you can with as little copy as possible. Mobile device screens are small, so droning on and on about a product just to get more keywords in is annoying to readers. Mobile marketing requires you to stick rigidly to the focus of the topic in a concise, yet thorough, manner.

TIP! Put your customers first. Understanding the wants and goals of your customers is the basic premise of mobile marketing.

Create a mission statement in tune to your purpose on how you can stay on track when doing social mobile marketing. If you have a clear definition of your principles, it’s easier to create a marketing plan that fits them.

You can gain an advantage by keeping an eye on what your competitors have been doing. You need to be discernible from the competition.

You need to have a home base if you are developing a mobile platform that will stand alone. You should want people to visit your webpage or keep them coming back to it. Do not ever base everything completely on a mobile marketing campaign.

TIP! Keep mobile marketing content messages brief and to the point. Make sure the messages you send can be absorbed quickly and understood by your customers.

Keep in mind that there can be different levels of mobile customers because of various outside influences; also note that once the entire market changes then customer base changes as well. Changes in technology can have a dramatic effect on your business, so stay up to date on all of the latest advances in technology.

Almost everyone is familiar with the idea of offering free apps, but not everyone understands just how easy it can be to develop one that meets the needs of your business. By offering visitors your own custom-made apps, you could significantly increase the success of your mobile marketing plan. There are many choices to make about app features; the possibilities are endless.

The most successful mobile marketers at some point started small, and over time implemented bigger and better strategies. This should be your strategy as well. Begin with simple texts and calls, then expand your campaign to include things like video content and social networking. Try everything you can to reach potential customers.

TIP! Use a mobile marketing strategy that keeps you visible and relevant. If you wish to stay competitive then be up to date with new technology and releases on a daily or weekly basis.

Although lots of people use their phones for Internet text, not all know the different kinds of abbreviations used online. If a person can’t understand your ad, you might lose a customer.

Allow message recipients to leave feedback about your mobile marketing communications. This offers an excellent opportunity to connect more effectively and interact with your customers. You may have people not being as receptive as you would like, but keep in mind that any information from a consumer should be treated as valuable input.

Cross-platform compatibility is essential in attracting more customers when taking on a mobile marketing campaign. If not, you risk losing customers due to technical problems.

TIP! Avoid sending messages to people at inconvenient hours of the day. Even though a person may like what you have to offer, nobody wants to hear about it at ridiculous hours.

Keep in mind that mobile users have a more difficult time navigating webpages. Your mobile marketing proposal should be simple, and if it is simple on a computer, those using a mobile device will have an easy time viewing it.

Split test the mobile capabilities your site. Testing is as essential to the mobile world as it is on traditional websites because this lets you see what works. The better of the two trial pages you create, as deemed by its success, should be your final choice, no matter how emotionally invested you may be in the other. Then use the one that gets the most conversions.

If texting is part of your mobile marketing plan, clearly disclose how often you intend to text your subscribers before they subscribe. It is very easy to screw up an SMS strategy because of how it notifies consumers. It can seem like you are being pushy. Therefore, make sure that only your opt-in customers receive your SMS texts, and never send more than the maximum number of messages specified in the opt-in terms. This is a great way to build up your brand loyalty.

Mobile Devices

Your mobile website should include maps and directions that are easy to use with a mobile device. There are a lot of people that rely on mobile devices for getting navigational directions. Create an easy way for your customers to reach you. Check that the maps and directions you provide display well on different mobile devices and work properly with mobile searches. Consider using an external link to a known site, like Google maps, for your customers.

As a method of enticing customers and expanding your branding, try QR codes. Your customers can use your QR codes to instantly access special promotions and discounts. All they need to use your QR codes is a cell phone. QR codes make it easier to market your products to your customers in a quick way with information they can use.

TIP! When delving in mobile marketing, you need to understand the basics of mobile devices in order to have your site and ads set up correctly. Conduct extensive research on the most popular mobile devices; this allows you to see things from your target market’s point of view.

Have relevant content. It’s easy to go overboard when entering the mobile marketing arena. Be sure your messages have a purpose. Approach things from your customers’ perspective and send out messages they would judge as interesting. Fill the needs and wants of your customers to ensure that they stick with you and continue to buy your products.

Promote your new mobile marketing campaign as a means of gaining access to exclusive offers and special savings. Advertise your deals on a host of different platforms to reach a wider audience. If people truly believe that your mobile campaign will help them, there is a good chance they’ll sign up. Let them know it will be fun and they will be better informed.

You can always improve your advertising. Be sure to look at the competition and see what is proving effective for them. Use the advertising tips discussed here to gain a competitive edge in your market arena.

Article source: http://bobsmlmblog.com/index.php/using-mobile-marketing-to-improve-your-businesss-visibility-5/

Top Benefits And Tips For Mobile Marketing

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.

TIP! A picture-to-screen feature can boost your mobile marketing campaign. Utilizing a picture-to-screen campaign allows customers to utilize their mobile phones to take pictures.

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.

TIP! Check out the things your rivals are doing, you will get advantage when it comes to social network marketing. You must be unique from your competitors.

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.

Mobile Web

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.

TIP! Usability testing before going live is a must for any mobile marketing campaign that you want to be effective. If you send texts that do not make sense or work, you will not succeed.

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.

Mobile Marketing

TIP! You should never send messages to your customers without a good reason. Every message you send should contain information that matters to your readers.

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.

Article Source: http://larne-business-marketing-advertising.co.uk/mobile-service/top-benefits-and-tips-for-mobile-marketing/

The State of Mobile Content Marketing [INFOGRAPHIC]

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.

Mobile Content Marketing Infographic

‘Ooohh, Shiny!’

alex-headshot-revised3I love new, shinny toys. I love to upgrade. I’m an early adopter, and have to have the latest and greatest…

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.

How Mobile Marketing Can Help Your Business

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.

Mobile & Loyalty Programs [INFOGRAPHIC]

This infographic from Chadwick Martin Bailey illustrates the potential of loyalty programs coupled with mobile wallets.

loyalty and mobile 5148cf5434603 Mobile & Loyalty Programs [INFOGRAPHIC]Article Source: http://trends.e-strategyblog.com/2013/03/20/mobile-loyalty-programs-infographic/9607

5 Ways to Take Customer Loyalty to the Next Level

New customers are the lifeblood of companies. Or are they? Lately, marketers have been spending more time on current customers — revamping what customer service means, investing more in customer relationship management (CRM) systems and building teams to improve communication with customers.

In this age of social connectivity, customer loyalty has become more valuable than ever. Consumers share stories of their interactions with businesses on social media, meaning that word-of-mouth marketing is especially valuable.

Since customer loyalty can be critical to making a sale, ask yourself what you’re doing to cultivate it. When was the last time you spent money or resources on making your customers feel appreciated? Many might argue that a focus on customer appreciation isn’t just a best practice — it could mean the difference between failure and survival in today’s word-of-mouth driven economy.

Here are five ways you can take customer loyalty up a notch:

1. Improve your ‘Thank You.’
Most of us have a Web page or email that thanks our customers for converting, whether that means joining the community, purchasing a product or signing up for a newsletter. But chances are good that the “thank you” could use some work. Because the thank you page or email is seen by every single one of your customers, you should ask: Does it put your best foot forward?

Rather than merely using that page to confirm an action, why not add some useful resources, follow-up steps or company contact information? Other ideas for improvement include lacing in a promotion to instigate immediate action or simply making the message more visually enticing.

2. Optimize your feedback channels.
Feedback comes in many forms, but chances are you’re getting customer responses you aren’t even using. While many companies tap into what their customer service department is hearing, they are less likely to proactively survey their website visitors or to analyze their cancellation and return forms. That’s a shame because these are all opportunities to get more information on what customers need.

When you take the time to improve your feedback channels, you are telling your audience, “We care about what you think.” This reminder can help build loyalty and help you answer concerns in a timelier manner, reducing customer loss and building trust.

3. Go beyond cancellations as a performance indicator.
While you need to know how many of your customers are cancelling, it is a reactive performance indicator. In addition to monitoring your customers loss, you can gauge loyalty by watching your company’s “net promoter score,” frequency of customer interactions with your business and the length of time between customer visits. By tracking how engaged customers are and how likely they are to recommend your company, you can get a more complete measure of their loyalty.

4. Assign someone to manage it.
Tracking and improving customer loyalty can be a challenge if no one specific is managing it. Good candidates for this responsibility often come from customer service, marketing, operations or product teams. The key qualifications are the ability to work well with others and a belief in the value of both qualitative and quantitative data analysis.

Whoever you choose should understand that customer loyalty may touch a number of departments at your company, but it deserves its own champion for maximum success.

5. Evangelize the gains and losses.
While customer loyalty should have a dedicated advocate, it is a company-wide effort. Unfortunately, customer loyalty scores rarely get touted as much as revenue and profits. Why is that? Many companies see customer loyalty as something beyond their control, that it is the natural result of the websites they build and products and services they sell. But companies have a number of opportunities to build trust and loyalty by making their interactions with customers the best they can be.

To show the importance of these interactions to customer retention, you can share with the rest of the company the results of your loyalty measurements, whether good or bad. This makes it a company-wide priority, and only then are you really taking customer loyalty to the next level.

Article Source: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/224117?cam=Dev&ctp=PopRightMod&cdt=4&cdn=224117

The Power of Text Message Marketing [INFOGRAPHIC]

As brands focus efforts on keeping up with broadcasting trends across social platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, many are neglecting a tried and true marketing tactic that could propel them even further: narrowcasting.

Narrowcasting marks an emerging trend by which consumers are sharing content with smaller, more selective audiences. In contrast to broadcasting, narrowcasting is about tailoring information to better compel the recipients. It’s a competitive alternative, as evidenced by this infographic from Mogreet. While broadcasting gets a brand’s message out to a massive group of people, when it comes to who is actually reading and engaging with the content, the numbers are staggeringly low.

For example, 84% of Facebook news feed stories aren’t viewed, 71% of tweets get ignored and 88% of emails go unopened. Meanwhile, 98% of text messages are opened, and therefore, companies that market through SMS/MMS have a far truer reach.

Do these statistics surprise you? If you’re a broadcaster, does this graphic make you want to give narrowcasting a try? Share with us in the comments.

6 Steps to Build Brand Loyalty

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.

Article Source: http://www.technicallymarketing.com/index.php/2013/03/21/6-steps-to-build-brand-loyalty-stay-top-of-mind-with-your-customers/

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