Friday, November 12, 2010

9 Ways to Create the Right Customer 'Experience'

Why do some customers spend money with you and others don’t? Why do some customers come back again and some don’t? You could really increase your profits if you could get them to spend money the first time and get them to return. Return shoppers provide a larger profit margin because you did not spend as much to get them to come back as you did to get them to purchase the first time. Here are some things to do:

Customer service is about the ‘experience’ not the sale
The customers ‘experience’ is what you are trying to create. When sales people appear uncaring and/or unhelpful you lose a lot of potential sales. Create a company policy on interacting with each and every customer that comes in the store. For ecommerce, interact with live chat, FAQ’s and follow up from visiting the site. Also have strategies to prevent communication breakdowns with customer and how to settle customer disputes.

Shopper Education
The general public has become much more savy in shopping these days. They will search online for the best price and customer reviews. You must provide information in the store as well as online for today’s shoppers. If they can find more information about another product, there is a greater chance you will lose the sale. In store and online you can provide fact sheets, video, publications and reviews.

Male vs Female
Women account for 60% - 80% of buying decisions in today’s market. Understanding how men and women shop is a must. Many industries have not embraced the fact that the majority of the buying decisions are made by women. Your store set-up and website design should appeal more to women – don’t ignore the men – but remember 60-80%!

Create an atmosphere to maximize potential
Customers will spend more money the longer they are in your store or on your website. In store – create an area for men and women to sit and relax – provide coffee or water – use video to educate and entertain. Online – design an entertaining and educational experience that will draw them to different products. Remember – relaxing, fresh, visually stimulating and of course clean.

Available and Open
It is a must to be available and open to customers. Not just being in the store – be with the customer assisting them in their shopping ‘experience’. Online – make it very easy and obvious how to connect with a live person via chat or phone. This will lead to increased sales and increased return purchases. Remember – the experience is more important than the sale.

Layout/Design to increase sales
Know where to put what merchandise in your store and have related products on the page for your ecommerce store. Place the sale items in a store in the middle to back of the store with visible signage to attract the customer. Online – always have related sale items on the page.

Create an environment that expresses emotion and product related
Your in store environment should be one that causes the customer to react emotionally. Appeal to the target market. The look and features of your website should do the same. If you sale sporting goods – create a competitive atmosphere with action photos of popular athletes and sport video games. This will maximize your sales and create enthusiastic customers.

Show your trust and ethical business
A study ( has shown that saying “trust us” will increase the customer’s perception of fair price, caring, fair treatment, quality and competency in your business. Create an atmosphere and reputation of high morals and ethics will attract consumers. Display in your store and online any involvement in community and charitable organizations.

Create an environment for feedback
Ask for your customers opinion. You will build a larger loyal customer base by asking and implementing ideas from your customers. You don’t know what they want or if they had a ‘great experience’ unless you ask.

You may not think these topics are related to marketing – I strongly disagree – anything that is related to increasing leads or sales is marketing. Customer service is marketing and the ‘experience’ you create for your customer will make or break your business.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Email Marketing = Lead Generation

Why are people blasting email marketing today? It has proven to have a great ROI. I just think the new guys on the block want to be the one to come up with something new. The biggest new, that is actually not so new, is lead generation. I have read that email marketing is just a small piece of lead generation. I strongly disagree. It is a significant piece of the lead generation pie. Don't misunderstand, I also believe you must be performing several other lead generating processes along with email.

A big factor in lead generation with email marketing is what type of email are you sending? One, a newsletter is the better lead generator. Two, product/service sales email should create more immediate sales by having the customer purchase online or have them come into the store. There are a 3 factors that you must consider to make your email campaign a lead generator.

First, you must have the appropriate email system that provides you with the information you need to develop leads. Just sending out mass emails from you personal email will not give you the information you need and will probably get your email shut down. The email management system should be able to provide you with the number and email addresses of opens, unique clicks and other information. There are several email management systems on the market and I have looked at them all and some are better than others.

Second, content in the email is very important. It must be seen as a value to the recipient. Depending on the type of industry will determine what is valuable content for your recipients. The content should also correlate to a product or service you provide. By providing valuable content that correlates to a product or service you provide - you determine which recipients are interested in that product or service by who clicks on that content.

Third, links are direct ways to determine the interests of the recipient. Providing links to the products and services you offer does two things. One, reminds the recipient of everything you offer. Two, gives the recipient the opportunity to get more information about any of your products or services. Links will generate the majority of your leads.

Taking the list of recipients that clicked on the unique links will provide you with a list of leads. If you don't get any clicks on your email, then your content or links are not a value to your recipients. It is now up to you to turn that lead into a customer.

Email marketing is not dead and is a lead generator!!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Is Your SEO really working?

How do you measure if your SEO is working? Even better, how do you justify the money you are spending on SEO? There are alot of statistics you can gather to show the activity on your website. Visits and clicks are the most common. There are others, however, those are the two most commonly talked about.

I come in contact with many businesses that tell me that they are really excited about their SEO and what it is doing. The first thing they say is "wow, traffic on my website has really increased". Traffic? What is traffic? You might as well say "alot of people have seen my website". Does that really equal success? NO!!!

You can have a billboard on the side of a road that gets thousands of cars drive by every day. The problem is that you are selling vitamins for individuals over 65 and the billboard is placed in front of a high school. Wrong audience!

Is the traffic on your website the right audience - target market? If you are getting the correct target market to visit your website it will create leads. That means you get information on individuals that visit your website or they will contact you (phone or email) based on the information on the website.

From these leads, you get customers that actually purchase from you. NOW that is a statistic that everyone understands. That is the number used to determine ROI, not traffic.

Okay, you say increased traffic equals leads which equals sales. Prove it!! Track how many leads and sales you get from your SEO and not just traffic. How do you do that? There are very highly technical ways to do it that are automated and there is the old fashion way - ASK the potential customer how they found you.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Marketing Opportunities - Online Directories

If you are not utilizing online directories, your business is missing out on a great opportunity to be seen and heard.  Most online directories are free. There are a few out there that charge to place your listing and you should determine whether your company should list with that directory. Many of the free directories offer paid upgrades that will give you more options and benefits, however, the upgrades are not a necessity to be successful.

The online directories are not just to list your buiness. They are for people to read positive reviews about your business. How? You ask your cutomers to write a recommendation for your business on the directory. Sometime during their buying process, provide them with the web address to write a recommendation on the directories. If you utilize more than one directory, give them options. Just like product reviews on retail ecommerce sites, individuals are using online directories for reviews on businesses.

Here are a few free online directories with the link to my listing:

Merchant Circle


Google Places,+GA&ei=6oiPTODyOcOblgfy_Nm8Dw&sqi=2&ved=0CC8QtgMwAA&iwloc=8901288723039125281&mid=1284475150

Insider Pages

If you are not listed on these directories, you are missing out on opportunities to be seen and heard - and missing out on potential customers.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Marketing's Missing Link

Great article about Marketing Strategy by Laura Patterson

Published on August 10, 2010

As I work with marketing organizations around the world, a common gap stands out: the lack of marketing strategy. Perhaps it's because the difficult economic climate has forced marketers into a more tactical mode, with leaner teams trying to execute more with less.

Whatever the reason, the lack of a marketing strategy has huge implications on an organization's marketing effectiveness. When strategy is neglected, the price paid goes beyond just lost revenue; the price is fewer opportunities from the target market, lower inquiry rates, and fewer sales conversions.

Rushing to implement marketing programs and tactics in the absence of a strategy means setting the stage for potential failure.

When we ask what strategy is being deployed, we often here marketers say the strategy is social media, direct marketing, public relations (PR), or advertising. But those are not strategies; they are tactics, and each can be deployed to support any number of strategic options.

So what is strategy? Strategy is how an organization is going to achieve its mission. And marketing strategy is the critical link between marketing goals and marketing programs and tactics.

Moreover, marketing strategy should reflect an organization's overall strategic approach. You probably are already familiar with some common business strategies. Michael Porter, Bishop William Lawrence University Professor at Harvard Business School, has identified three generic business strategies:

1. Differentiation—used by organizations that focus on the uniqueness and prowess of their products or services by leveraging innovation, design, quality, etc.

2. Cost leadership—used by organizations to offer products at lower prices than competitors' by leveraging supply-chain management, distribution, process/manufacturing efficiencies, etc.

3. Niche—used by organizations that leverage domain expertise, service quality, etc., for a particular customer or market segment

A strategy provides focus and enables an organization to concentrate limited resources on building core competencies that create a sustainable competitive advantage that allows the pursuit and securing of the best revenue opportunities.

Marketing strategy complements an organization's overall strategy, keeps marketing in line with the organization's overarching mission, and provides guidance and direction for channeling the organization's marketing resources toward achieving market traction, penetration, and dominance.

Types of Marketing Strategies

So if PR, collateral, events, and direct mail are tactics that an organization can use to drive awareness, consideration, and preference, what are examples of marketing strategies?

The vast number of potential strategies cannot be listed here, but we can discuss some of the more-common ones and explore selection criteria.

For example, three common product strategies that both B2B and B2C organizations use are trial, product placement, and bundling.

1. Trial is the opportunity to evaluate and experience a product before committing to purchase. Trial can take the form of a sample (often used in consumer packaged goods), an evaluation (used in the software industry), or a test drive (used in the automotive industry).

2. We are all familiar with product placement (e.g., seeing cars, computers, and phones, etc., in television shows and movies). But product-placement strategies can be deployed just as successfully by B2B firms, by placing products (medical device, computer, software) as teaching tools within an academic environment, for example.

3. Bundling involves offering several products for sale as one combined product—again a strategy commonly used in the consumer packaged goods industry (e.g., toothbrush, toothpaste, and mouthwash all in one package); the technology industry (e.g., software plus a computer); and the automotive industry (e.g., subscription-based communications, in-vehicle security, hands-free calling free for a year when you buy the car).

Other common strategies that B2B and B2C organizations use involve people, such as third-party endorsements, seals of approval, celebrities, customer testimonials, etc., or grassroots efforts (where other people become interested in, excited about, and supportive of your organization, product, or service and then help create market momentum).

And a third category can involve the market, such as divide-and-conquer, stepping-stone, tipping-point, and kingpin strategies.

A tipping-point strategy entails tipping from one point of equilibrium to a different point of equilibrium—the idea being that an organization can create a tipping point by capturing enough of a particular market so that other segment members gravitate toward that organization, product, or service.

An alternative strategy is a kingpin approach, where you focus on capturing those customers who have the greatest control in a segment; and once you acquire them, the rest follow.

A strategy consists of a well-thought-out series of tactics that brings the strategy to life. As marketers, you will leverage various marketing channels, from digital marketing to PR to traditional advertising and others, to implement the strategies. And although each of those tactics will apply, how they are used to create marketing programs will vary.

Five Strategy Criteria

Once you identify potential strategies, how do you select one? Consider these five criteria when selecting a strategy:

1. Impact—the proposed strategy must conclusively demonstrate that it will contribute to the achievement of the specific marketing goal.

2. Proven—the proposed strategy should be firmly grounded in evidence-based research that indicates the likelihood that the strategy will work.

3. Context—the proposed strategy should take into account the current environment (business, political, social, and market).

4. Feasible—the organization should have the capability to successfully carry out the proposed strategies.

5. Appropriate—the proposed strategy should be consistent with the organization's mission, culture, business processes, etc.

Steps for Strategy Development and Evaluation

It's probably become obvious that a marketing strategy serves as the foundation for your organization's marketing plan. In fact, the marketing plan contains the specific plan of action that your marketing organization is going to use to successfully implement the strategy.

So, in closing, remember the five key steps for developing and evaluating your marketing strategy:

1. Define the business outcomes that marketing must influence. Without them, the marketing team will not understand what constitutes success for the organization. If Marketing doesn't know the business outcomes, then how can it develop appropriate strategies?

It is the C-Suite's responsibility to establish the business outcomes and communicate which ones Marketing is expected to have an impact on and how Marketing will have made a difference.

2. Develop measurable marketing goals to support the business outcomes. Once Marketing understands the business outcomes and its own role, Marketing needs to define how it intends to move the needle vis-à-vis those outcomes. Those goals provide insight into the strategic options.

3. Evaluate and select the marketing strategy to achieve the goals.

4. Create programs with corresponding tactics and activities to implement the strategies.

5. Monitor results and make course adjustments as needed.

Because we live in a dynamic environment, marketing strategies need to be dynamic. The marketing strategy or strategies you choose will be based on your unique situation and the market in which you play.

Selecting and deploying a strategy that supports the organization and is based on your knowledge of the market and its customers will go a long way toward making your marketing more effective. And though you want to be deliberate in your approach to and selection of a strategy, you may also need to be flexible and agile.

Laura Patterson ( is president and cofounder of VisionEdge Marketing Inc. ( Her most recent book is Metrics in Action: Creating a Performance-Driven Marketing Organization (Racom Communications, 2009).

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

3 Things Locally Owned Businesses Must Do

Locally owned businesses that want to do business with the local population need to consider 3 very important points to have an effective marketing strategy. Local marketing is unique and should not be treated like a national campaign. Individuals that shop locally are attracted to companies that they have some type of connection. You must know your target market and base you local marketing on this information.

1. Local Public Relations - You must be working with different local community groups, organizations or schools. Supporting these entities will be seen as giving back to the community. The specific entities will be based on what is best to reach your target market. For example - sponsor local events, become a partner in education with the local schools, support local sports organizations and teams, provide a free service or product to non-profit events, etc. The opportunities are endless in many communities. Pick a few that you care about and that will reach your target market.

2. Local Involvement - Being involved in civic organizations and groups are great networking opportunities. The local chamber of commerce, business groups, leads groups, etc are also great local networking opportunities. Involvement in the local groups that include other local businesses is great marketing and networking. If you are a B2B company, this is where many leads are found. B2C companies can find customers and other businesses to create productive partnerships in other activities.

3. Local Advertising - Part of supporting other local businesses is advertising with your local media outlets. Whether it is newspaper, radio, magazine, online directories, chamber of commerce, etc. - you want to spend you marketing dollars locally. It sends a dual message of local company supporting other local businesses. Remember - advertise only with those outlets that reach your target market. Do not advertise with them JUST because they are local.

This is a very good start and will serve as a good foundation to your marketing strategy. Your local customer base need some way to have a connection with you or your business. Find ways in the community to connect to as many people as possible.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

7 Inexpensive and Effective Marketing Tools

If you're a business owner, you are probably looking for ways to promote your business without having to spend a lot of money. No matter what size business you own, you probably aren't taking full advantage of the many opportunities you have for marketing your business in basic ways that cost little or nothing to implement.

Some of these marketing tools that you can utilize include:

1. Business Cards. All businesses should have business cards. This is one of the most cost efficient marketing tools. It should be viewed as a virtual billboard that promotes your business. Don’t just put your logo and contact information – include what you do. The back of business cards is one of the least utilized marketing tools today. Special offers and discounts are good for the back of a business card. Place information on the back that will give the customer a reason to have your business card handy at all times.

2. Emails. A business that does not ask me for my email address does not want my future business. Consumers are very willing to give their email address to a business as long as they perceive they will benefit from the emails they receive. Have an email marketing plan that will benefit your customers and give them reasons to come back. B2B companies should offer valuable information to their customers via email. B2C companies should provide special offers via email. Customers that are satisfied with your products and services will forward these emails to their friends. Nothing is as strong as word-of-mouth.

3. Word-of-Mouth Referrals. A business can be built on word-of-mouth referrals. There is no better marketing tool than a friend’s recommendation. You could not afford a sales force the size of all your satisfied customers and friends. The strongest referral is one from a friend. A satisfied customer is one that received what they expected not just treated nicely. The customers experience when they have encountered your products and/or services, will either build or destroy the power of word-of-mouth. In order to create the type of satisfied customer that will work like a salesman – you must provide a WOW experience.

4. WOW Experience. Customer service is a very important issue for all businesses. The question is – do you provide great customer service or just customer service with a smile? Great customer service can separate you from your competition. It can create or stop a sale. It is who you are!!! Creating a WOW experience for your customers will keep them coming back. Check out this book “Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach to Customer Service” by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles. It has a pretty good formula for creating a WOW experience.

5. Invoices/Receipts. You either send a customer an invoice or give them a receipt. Use this opportunity to promote your business or a specific product or service. It is also a great way to say ‘Thank You’ to your customers – you can never say thank you enough. Messages promoting your website, email newsletter, special event or upcoming sale will cross promote all your marketing tools.

6. Thank You Notes. A lost and forgotten art is the hand written thank you note. If you ship products – drop a hand written ‘thank you’ in the package. If you send invoices by mail – place a hand written ‘thank you’ on the invoice. Any time you send or hand a customer a sheet of paper – it is an opportunity to say ‘thank you’ in writing. This simple gesture will go a long way in building a long lasting loyal relationship with your customers.

7. Online Business Directories. The majority of the world is using the internet to search for products and services. Along with trying to find products and services, people are searching for who has the BEST products and services. The online business directories provide you with the opportunity to list your business with a description of what you offer and it provides a review section for your customers to tell everyone about their experience. The majority of the online directories are free with upgrades that include minimal costs. Your business can appear in internet searches without having a website or landing page when you are listed in the online business directories.

Marketing doesn't have to be expensive to be effective. You have resources in your business you are not utilizing to the fullest extent. These 7 methods are simple and effective for any business no matter the size or industry. Implement some or all of these and see the power of inexpensive marketing.

Friday, July 23, 2010

3 Important Points in Website Design

When designing a website there are 3 things that you must decide before starting. If you start the process of designing before determining the answers to these three questions - you will waste alot of time and money. These issues are the foundation of the website.

A couple of things to remember - Your website is the center of all your marketing arms. Every marketing tool you have should direct the customer to your website. Consistency in presenting your brand is a major key to effective advertising. Visually all of your advertising and marketing should have some consistency with your website.

With those points out of the way - here are the 3 questions to answer.

1. Are you selling or answering? What I mean is are you a B2C or a B2B business? B2C will sell their products and services to their customers. Many times having an ecommerce site is a large part of the revenues. Presenting all of the products with descriptions and prices gives the customer the ability to make the decision online. B2B will provide the solutions to the customers problems. You are not selling a product or service you are selling a solution. Present the information in a way to answer the customers questions that solve their problems. They are not looking for a particular product or service - they are looking for a solution to their need.

Here is a good B2B website:

2. Layout - text vs graphic? Everyone wants pictures and video on their website. This is not necessarily a bad thing, it depends on your industry and who is your target market. The younger the target market the more likely video will be effective. If you have an ecommerce site then you must have pictures of the products and video can enhance the customers experience and will increase the chance of the customer purchasing. For B2B a video can be used to introduce the company and the individuals that work at the company. Remember - text is king in search engine optimization. You can optimize the pictures and videos with tags for SEO.

3. Color scheme? This should be the easiest one to answer unless you are completely re-branding your business. Consistency with color is one of the rules for branding. So when choosing a color scheme you must think about all the possible marketing mediums you will use and if the colors work with print, video, billboard, email, blog, etc. You do not have to come up with a color scheme that is unique. There are reasons some color schemes are popular. The color of the text on the background must be easy to read!!

These 3 questions are only the beginning of the process of designing a website. Once you have answered these - you are just getting started. However, you just made the process easier and more cost effective.

Take a look at some of the websites our designers have developed.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

7 Tips To More Effective Email Marketing

Email marketing has the highest ROI of any direct sell tool available. You have an interested audience that is waiting for you to give them a reason to buy from you. So is it that easy to get your customer to take action? If you avoid some of the more common mistakes many email marketers make, you will increase the number of customers that take action and buy from you and not the competition.

1. Get permission - All email marketing campaigns should use permission based email lists. The customer has given you permission to send them emails about a particular topic. If they gave you permission to send them information about helpful tips only, don't send them a sales piece without asking first. I delete many emails without opening them if I have not given permission.

2. Use an Email Service Provider (ESP) - You think you can do this without an ESP? It is possible, however; it is alot less expensive and less risky to use an ESP. They provide many benefits in design and format, but the most valuable benefit is keeping you off blacklists. If you try to place all the email addresses in the 'To:' line - there is a very good chance you will end up on several blacklists. It also violates the CAN SPAM Act and will get you blocked by many ISP's.

3. Links to all your inbound marketing - Providing links to all your inbound marketing; blog, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and all others; gives the customer the opportunity to be a part of all your conversations and information. The more you interact with a customer, the more they buy. Obviously you have a link to your website. Your website should be the foundation to all marketing.

4. Always provide an unsubscribe option - Very simple - it is the law. Don't make it an inviting link, but always have it on each and every email.

5. Don't use too many pictures - The pictures should compliment the text, not dominate the email. Many individuals have images blocked on emails. You do not want your email showing up blank on someones screen. In order to have a call to action, you must have good text.

6. Know the recipients name and gender - You do not want to send a women's accessory ad to men. In order to personalize the email, you must know the individuals name. So, when asking for a customers email address, also get their first and last name and gender. Remember this when you are developing your sign up page.

7. Don't just sell, sell, sell - Yes your main objective is to have the customer take action and buy. However, you must earn the customers trust in the process. Providing 'useful' information and 'value' to the customer - what the customer perceives useful and valuable - will increase the customers trust in you and your product. This will lead to buying from YOU.

These 7 tips seem to be common sense - you would be surprised at the emails I receive that break at least one of these points. With the right information and message - your emails can produce lead generation and purchases.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Don't Touch That Marketing Budget

I am encountering and hearing of businesses making cuts to their budgets. Whether it is staffing, capital purchases, benefits, marketing and many others; they want to cut expenses and increase revenue. Most are not successful increasing revenues. Just because you cut expenses does not automatically increase revenue.

This chart to the left, provided by Laurie McCabe, a Partner and Analyst at the SMB Group through HubSpot Blog, shows that companies with increasing reveues are more likely to view marketing strategically, and invest more in marketing than their counterparts with flat or declining revenues.

Marketing is one area that a company can not expect to cut and also increase revenue. I know there are exceptions to every rule, however, the majority of businesses that decrease their marketing budget will see revenues flat or decrease. Small businesses find this more challenging than larger businesses.

For small businesses the internet and social media can be the answer. Web-based marketing and social media tools are usually less expensive than traditional marketing. It can be easier to use and more effective than traditional marketing. This is also true for larger businesses.

Using internet and social media marketing does not require you to commit to long term contracts and tie you into a stationery marketing strategy. A continually adjusting and changing marketing strategy is more relevant and effective. You are able to try different approaches with out making changes to a long term agreement. Trying different messages at the same time to determine which is effective is a common strategy.

In order to be effective in internet and social media marketing, you must have a plan. Now that is another blog for another time. It will not take a long term contractural agreement, however, it will take time to be effective.

If you are going to decrease your marketing budget, you must have a marketing strategy that will continue to reach your target market. Internet and social media marketing may be the answer.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

10 Things You Must Do For Your Facebook Business Page

Facebook (FB) has become a norm in developing a branding/marketing strategy. Just having a FB page is not going to produce results to increase your revenues. If you do not have a FB business page, sign up as soon as you finish reading this blog.

There are the obvious things to set up a business page. Business profile information is something easy to do and should be a short description of who you are and what you do. FB does alot for you by just having the page - like button, photo, email contact, website link, etc. Another common tool used on FB is FB ads. These ads are not for everyone.

Here are the 10 things you must do for your business page:

1. Daily posts about what is going on in your business. Share with your fans what is going on. This will build a very strong loyal customer base. It will also start conversations in other groups. You want you business talked about positively as much as possible. You have the opportunity to direct the conversations about your business.

2. Create a Products tab. Make this an online window shopping experience. You do not have to show everything. Remember it is a window shopping experience. What do you put in the front windows of your business? The most attractive products. Create a WOW factor.

3. Create a Pictures tab. This is not for products. Post pictures of interesting things about what is happening at your business and with your employees. It could be pictures of an employee outing to a baseball game. A picture of the customer service employees so your customers can put a name with a face - make it more personal.

4. Create an Email sign up tab. If you do not have an email marketing campaign you should seriously consider this high ROI strategy. Check out this link for more information about email marketing. The email sign up tab will increase the number of your email addresses to include in your email campaign. This type of inbound marketing is very important in any branding strategy.

5. Create Other tabs. This depends on the type of business. Many businesses have rewards program, events and coupons. If it is an important part of your business and marketing strategy, you should have a tab for that item. I know many restaurants have a coupons tab to list the current special/coupon for the week. It is a great way to get someone to make that decision to come see you.

6. Use the Store locator application. Whether you have one location or multiple locations, your customers need to know how to find you. Do not make them go to another site to get information on how to find you. That is the best way to lose them.

7. Create a Video tab. One of the most popular ways to market a business today is through video. You can do alot of things with video to show off your products or create funny videos about your products. Think of unusual helpful ways to use your product and show it with video.

8. Use the Featured Product application. You always have a featured product. Show it off. Whether it is a new item or one you are trying to move inventory - feature the product to make more sales. Make sure it has some WOW power - either price or item - it must draw attention.

9. Create a blog connection to your company blog. The connection will post the published blog post on your business page automatically. You will be sharing your blog posts to all your fans and reminding them of the company blog. This will increase traffic to your blog. This also allows you to share your business with more people.

10. Use the Favorite application. By listing your favorites on your FB business page, it allows you to link to other businesses and organizations (hopefully they will return the favor). This also allows you to show your customers the other businesses you support. If you share something in common with a customer or potential customer, it increases the chances that they will do business with you.

This list of 10 is not an end all and is not for all businesses. It is a great starting point and will increase your presence on FB and the internet. You must have a plan to follow in using any social media or you will waste alot of time. FB can be a huge asset to your business when used properly.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Email Marketing - Why Not?

Email marketing is a great way for businesses to build loyal customers. Why don't more businesses use email marketing? The number one reason I am told why businesses do not use email marketing - "my customers don't want to give me their email address". This usually comes from a business owner that has been in business for 10+ years. People at one time viewed giving out their email address like giving out their phone number.

A new attitude is prevalent in today's market place. If a business does not ask for my email address, then they do not want my business in the future. Businesses should show interest in their customers and communicate with them on a consistent basis. If you want to have loyal customers that come back time and time again, make them feel wanted. Give them special offers that only loyal customers receive.

Businesses can set themselves apart from their competition by using email marketing to make their customers feel important. Providing information to customers with no strings attached shows that the business cares about the customer. It takes the seller/buyer relationship to a much more personal level. The great thing is the amount of time spent on email marketing compared to individually speaking to each customer is hundreds of times less.

IBM noted in a study that an email contact is worth $948. Compared to social media, unless you have millions of fans, $3.60 per fan (Value of a 'Fan' on Social Media, Brian Morrissey) does not compare to the value of an email contact. How much time is spent on social media fans compared to an email list? A thorough analysis will enable you to determine and realize that your ROI for email marketing is much higher than for social media. "The cost of acquiring a new customer can be as much as 5 times the cost of keeping an old one." (Source: Peppers and Rogers)

An organized and well planned email campaign will build you a more loyal customer base and will in turn, increase your revenues. "A 5% increase in retention yields profit increases of 25 to 100 percent."(Source: Bain and Co.)

If you don't ask for your customers email address - you don't want their business in the future.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Inbound Marketing - Issues

There are still dinosaurs out there that have not embraced inbound marketing. The traditional advertising marketing is the only thing they know and 'it has worked for many years', so why change. If this sounds like a client or the CEO of your company - then this article will be very helpful.[10+Steps+to+Get+CEO+]

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Direct Mail - Thing of the past?

I believe direct mail is not necessarily a thing of the past, but should be used only in very specific circumstances. It should be used as a branding tool more than a sales tool. In some situations for some businesses it may be good to send a mass direct mail to introduce the business to the community. This can include a special offer, however, it is to let people know who and where you are in the community.

If direct mail fits what you need, I recommend small very bright colored post cards for direct mail. It should give enough information that the consumer knows what you are selling.

If you are going to collect information from your customers and send them information on a regular basis, the best tool to accomplish this is with emails. The ROI for direct mail has steadily decreased as the cost of mailing has increased. The ROI for email marketing is increasing. You can collect all the mailing address information if you want too, but you better get that emial address.

Don't throw away all of your direct mail information just yet - but - there are better more productive ways to accomplish what direct mail has done in the past.

Check out this article - some good information about direct mail.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Webinars - 3 Big Mistakes

Webinars are a great way to present a topic in an interactive format. To present successful webinars there are a 3 Big Mistakes you do not want to make to keep people from leaving and to have them attend another webinar.

1. Time - Do NOT make your presentation longer than 30 minutes. Most professionals do not want to spend more than 30 minutes listening to information on a single topic. This does not include the time for Q and A. If it takes longer than 30 minutes to present - you should not be presenting this information via webinar.

2. Presentation - Do NOT read the information on the slides. Everyone participating in the webinar can read what is on the screen - the speaker should give more detailed information based on the points on the screen. The participants are seeking current relevant information and your opinion. If you are going to read the slides - just email them to the registrants and they can get just as much information.

3. Q and A - Do NOT cut off before answering all the questions. Allow enough time to answer all the questions. If some of the participants do not want to stay connected - they have the option to leave the live webinar. You should treat all participants with the same respect and answer their question.

These three points do not cover everything you need to do to have a successful webinar. However, these three mistakes will cause your participants to leave early or not come back for another webinar you present.

Event Marketing

How do you market a single event?
You approach the marketing of the event like it is a new product or service being announced. Give it an identity. Package it. Target market and how do you get it to the target market? Must have immediate feedback/registration/ticket purchase. Make it an enjoyable experience for the customer/participant.

Participants must have a personal attachment to the event. Focus on the stories that go along with the event to spark that emotional attachment to get them to sign up and participate. Video works great!!

A website is a must that has ALL the information that the customer/participant will possibly need. Funnel all medias to website.

Using email is a great way to reach target markets and respond to those individuals viewing the website.

Emotions drive most people to participate in events.

Branding - Customer Service

A major part of your brand is your customer service. Take a look at the top 10 companies that treat you right and you will see 10 very successful companies. All of them have a very strong brand that was built on the 'customer experience'. Check out this article:

Friday, June 11, 2010

Email Marketing - Content

What information do you put in your emails?

Don't try to sell your products or services in your emails!! Exception - retail - listing products with sale prices. Give good relevant information your customers can use at work and/or everyday life. They are more likely to remember you if you give them something they can use. Make it relevant to your business also. If they are receiving an email from a clothing store, you are not expecting them to tell you how to fix a leaky faucet.

You don't try to sell them - HOWEVER - make sure there is something in the email that reminds them of all the products or services you offer. Always include links to your website, facebook page, LinkedIn page, company blog and other informational and social sites. COUPONS are great, if you are really offering a great deal.

A good way to get the customer to your website is to have a READ MORE link to your website where they finish reading the article or go to a page that offers more information on the topic they are reading.

These sounds pretty basic - you would be surprised at how many emails I receive that offer nothing except a sales pitch.

Video - B2C vs B2B

Video is a very effective tool in marketing both B2C and B2B. However, do you use the same type of video for both?

B2C - any type of video that is interesting, fun, informative, crazy, off the wall or just plain home video can be effective. The purpose is to get people to watch, talk about it and forward it to friends. Go viral. So it does not take a professional production team to develop a video for B2C. Have fun, make it interesting and deliver your message. Keep it short though - people get bored with long videos and they are less likely to forward to a friend.

B2B - what is the purpose for this type of video? Who is going to be viewing? What is the viewer looking for? The purpose is to get your message in front of decision makers. This decision maker is not looking for cute, fun and crazy information about your company. They are looking for what you have to offer. The video should accomplish this with adding the personal touch of making a connection with the viewer. They need to see something that can not be realized in text and photographs on your website. This video should be well thought out, scripted and professionally produced.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Branding - Consistency

Branding - are you displaying a consistent brand to your customers? Consistency in the 'experience' when your customers encounter your product or services with increase the value of your brand --> increase customer loyalty --> increase revenue.

Marketing Challenges

What is your greatest challenge in marketing your business?