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Category Archives: Sales

Do you need a new outfit?

Do you need a new outfit?

By | Culture, Customer Service, Email Marketing, Sales, Technology, The Future | No Comments

You know your audience, but does your audience know you?

We have some shocking information:
“Nearly half of all small business owners do not have a website.” [Clutch]

Without one, as small business author Jim Blasingame said: “You might as well be a ghost.” [Inc.]

That’s bad news for them. But you’re in luck – because you’re reading this blog. Which means you likely are in the market for an exceptional website. That puts you light-years ahead of the competition.

If you don’t have a website, you aren’t giving your audience a chance to know you.

A website is the equivalent of buying a new outfit and revamping your portfolio for a prospect meeting: It’s your chance to make a fantastic first impression. As in life, appearance counts for a lot – 75% of users admit to judging a company’s credibility based on their site design [Stanford] – but that doesn’t mean you can slack on substance. Design draws people in, but quality content keeps them.

Remember: A website is a handy marketing tool for you, too. Tracking activity and buying behavior via Google Analytics makes it easy for you to create the content people are looking for. Which is crucial, considering 96 percent of visitors don’t come to your site prepared to buy. [Hubspot]

Obviously, you want to create an awesome online experience that will turn your prospective customer into a loyal one. Your first step? Answering these three simple questions about your website:

  1. Does it clarify what you do?
  2. Is your contact information clearly displayed?
  3. Does it positively and attractively represent your business?

If your answer to any of the above is “No” or (gasp!) you have no website – it’s time to get started. Your website is the one online destination over which you have complete control – don’t neglect it!

 

 

 

Make that Pokémon-ey: Monetizing the World’s Pokémon Go Obsession

Make that Pokémon-ey: Monetizing the World’s Pokémon Go Obsession

By | Culture, Economy, Fun, Sales, Strategy | No Comments

“Have you played Pokémon Go?”

Unless you’ve spent the two weeks hiding under a rock (which is a totally legitimate pastime, of course), someone has asked you this question by now. Released on July 6th, the tremendously popular app has already been downloaded at least 15 million times [Heavy] and is worth approximately $29 billion [MoneyNation]. There’s no doubt that Pokémon has been a financial success for its developer, Niantic, and rumor has it that McDonald’s is already preparing to pounce on this marketing opportunity [Gizmodo]. But what about the rest of us? Is there a way for small business owners to get in on the game that so quickly made its way to the top?

Turns out, there are several – and most of them are free!

  • Pick a side. If you haven’t already played Pokémon Go, the basic premise is this: 1) Create your trainer (i.e. avatar), 2) Choose one of three teams: Team Instinct (yellow), Team Valor (red) or Team Mystic (blue), and 3) Scurry about collecting and training Pokémon in various locations. Once you’ve picked your team, you can get in on the fun by providing corresponding deals to other “team members.”
  • Buy a lure. Purchasable in-game, lure modules last 30 minutes each and attract a bevy of “wild” Pokémon to a specified location. As many business owners have already discovered, they’re also a great method of enticing patrons. Inc estimated that it only costs $1.19/hour to keep the lures (and the humans that follow them) coming all day – and you can bet you’ll make that money back in no time!
  • Connect with millennials. Take advantage of this rare opportunity to appeal to marketing-wary millennials by actually playing the game, sharing your finds on social media, and offering discounts on products to people who’ve caught certain valuable Pokémon. Your younger audiences will appreciate the fun vibe!
  • Work that Pokéstop. If you’re fortunate enough to have a storefront near a landmark, monument or other prominent building in your town, advertise it. People flock to these spots in order to restock in-game items, and if you happen to be nearby…well, you just found yourself a whole bunch of potential customers.

We don’t know exactly when this idea might be implemented, but Niantic CEO John Hanke has already expressed interest in further monetizing the app with sponsored locations. “Pay us to be locations within the virtual game board – the premise being that it is an inducement that drives foot traffic” [Financial Times]. In the meantime, let the above suggestions keep you busy.

Happy hunting!

Make that Pokémon-ey: Monetizing the World’s Pokémon Go Obsession

 

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Act while the sun is shining

By | Economy, Sales | No Comments

U.S. consumer spending is up. So is consumer confidence. And so is business investment. And no less a sensible sage than Warren Buffett says that “the mother lode of opportunities resides in the U.S.”

We’re seeing the same positive trend here, and with clients. One longtime client who really struggled during the recession told us last week that last month was up 30% over the same month last year. Another client’s revenues have grown 400% over last year. And now that the snow that choked much of the country is clearing, watch the economy soar.

So if your sales aren’t up, if you’re not yet taking advantage of the turnaround in the economy, we have to wonder why. Because others (your competitors?) are already getting primed. With new marketing and new sales initiatives aimed at growing their crops while the sun is shining.

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How to run a winning Facebook contest

By | Email Marketing, Facebook, News, Sales, Social Marketing, Strategy, Websites | One Comment

A recent study by Exact Target showed that the main reason people “Like” a business’s Facebook Page is to get special offers and promotions.

Facebook contests offer many benefits. They can increase Likes and fan engagement on your page; secure relevant and targeted fans; add to your e-mail list; increase traffic on your website; and more. Is it time you held a Facebook contest? Here are some tips:

1. Plan ahead
Running an online contest takes planning. What are your social media goals? Do you want more fans or more engagement? Are you running a contest or a sweepstakes? Who will fulfill the prizes? Be sure to have a detailed plan before beginning any promotion.

2. Consider your target demographics
Do you want to microtarget your fans or not? If you’re strictly B2B, how can you ensure that you get businesspeople rather than stay-at-home moms to enter? (Offering an iPad is great, but everyone wants one.) Think ahead and target only the entrants you want.

3. Follow Facebook’s rules
We see promotions daily that are being run in violation of Facebook’s terms. Be sure to read and understand the rules here before beginning any type of promotion. Note that votes and entries can’t be made on the wall without a third-party app like the one we made for our client Hotel Amarano.

4. Promote, promote, promote
Just holding a contest doesn’t mean that droves of people will enter. You need to promote your contest via advertising and online posting as your budget permits. Unless you plan to give away loads of cash, you need to continue to spread the word throughout the contest.

5. Make it easy to enter
Scavenger hunts, point-accruing games, essay contests and other multistep contests are too hard and turn people away. Make it easy to enter and even easier to win, and you’ll get more participants. Of course, collecting emails must be part of the process.

6. Reward participation
Keep in mind that people are taking the time from their busy lives to help promote your company. Respond to all questions and comments and continue to engage with your community. Thank each entrant and perhaps even give a token gift for every entry. We saw bumper stickers (cost: under a buck) fly out the door for a contest we ran recently; for another, we gave every entrant a surprise discount code.

7. Follow up
Make sure prizes are awarded and sent in a timely manner. Ask the winner to send photos with the prize to share with your Page, and send out press or social media posts. Participants want to see that a real person won. Be sure to use the emails you collect from participants to send follow-up messaging.

If you want to get more qualified leads easily, and want to run a contest on Facebook to help, call us at 818-848-1700. We’ll help you do it right.

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Do ads enhance your life?

By | Culture, Email marketing, Email Marketing, Sales, Social Marketing | No Comments

Daily life consists of so many details that can be lumped into the category of “minutiae”.  All those little things you hardly notice but subconsciously take in.  More often than not, advertising falls into this category.  From television, to radio, internet banners, pop-ups, emails, billboards, and especially all of the social media we engage in – the average American is exposed to hundreds of commercial messages every day.  We all say we’d rather do without them.  Many people pay for services that remove them like XM Radio or Tivo.  But do we really hate them?

I personally think that people have a love affair with marketing.  Though, I’m aware my opinion might be slightly biased.  After reading this article, I realized that these messages reach far deeper than simply getting people to buy.  Even if you don’t notice it outright, you probably let media influence you in more ways than one.  Marketing can inform and entertain, break up your commute or just provide an endless amount of conversation.  Now it seems that commercialism may even help you like your favorite show better.

Some of it is good, a lot of it is mediocre, and (let’s face it) there are some downright ugly messages out there in the world of marketing.  When was the last time you laughed or cried at an ad? How about the last time you bought a product after seeing their media? Do you think those commercial breaks help you enjoy your favorite show more? Let us know what you think.

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It’s all in how it’s packaged

By | Branding, Business Etiquette, Customer Service, Email marketing, Email Marketing, Sales | No Comments

With the regular mail bills moving to e-bills, paper newsletters moving to e-newsletters, newspapers becoming an extinct news source, and receiving e-cards rather than regular cards, it seems that “new” marketing is all on the internet. WRONG.

I loved typing that just now, and here’s why: the other day I received this envelope.
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What could it be? And who from?? (Lee hypothesized a secret admirer.) I guess I had to open it to find out! Oh the suspense! Oh the glee! It was my very own…marketing material from Staples sales rep Jairo. (Hi Jairo!) Definitely surprised, Jairo’s personally written introduction card made a positive impression on me. Soon after, Jairo followed up with an e-mail and phone call requesting the foot in the door sales pitch meeting that all sales reps would love to have. Granted.

Surprisingly, the next day, I received this other letter:
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I received this letter soon after receiving a call in which I notified them that we were not in need of their services. Not only was our business name blatantly misspelled (Counter-Ntuity), but their generic mail merge document was horribly written with many grammatical errors (and poor wording choices).

Obviously, I’m thinking of switching to Staples now. Jairo is creative, smart, and has what it takes to get me to be a Staples customer. My reasoning? Staples is going to make my job easier by saving me money (covered in the sales meeting), saving me time (notice how he saved his own time), and providing creative solutions to any needs we may have (demonstrated by the personalized print card solution, other marketing materials, and general creativeness in using snail-mail).

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Don’t shoot the medium

By | Branding, Email marketing, Email Marketing, Sales, Social Marketing | No Comments
photo by Gideon Tsang

photo by Gideon Tsang

This week, I read an article in the Wall Street Journal called Entrepreneurs Question Value of Social Media. The article’s subtitle is, “Marketing via Facebook, Twitter Yields Results for Some, Others Say It’s Overrated; ‘Hype Right Now Exceeds the Reality’.”

I understand the point the article is trying to make — Where are the results? I was promised if I engage in social media, I’ll be successful. Where’s my pot of gold?

Marketing and advertising are the means to gain awareness of you, your brand or your product. Yes, opinions are made on marketing alone but it’s highly unlikely that just marketing and advertising close sales. That’s the job of your website, sales people, store, phone reps, sales process.

You can have an incredible campaign (social media or otherwise) that drives traffic and grows awareness but if you can’t seal the deal, you’re out of business. If you’re using social media or email marketing get traffic from them, be sure to measure your results. What percentage of visitors are converting into customers?

What can you do to increase this rate? Look closely at your product, sales process, website, follow through. What can be improved? How do you share your benefit and value? Could your website landing page use some optimization? Does your online form look unwieldy? Are leads getting followed up on quickly enough.

If your traffic is growing but your sales aren’t, don’t shoot the marketing medium. Look in the mirror and see how you can take advantage of your traffic win.

How are you taking advantage of your social media marketing?