Email marketing is extremely effective. So why do almost all small businesses get such uninspiring results from it? That’s what this post is all about! Email marketing: Free and easy? The cost of marketing has changed massively over the years. For small business owners, the cost of sending a marketing letter [direct mail] to just […]
This is a reproduced article from Jim Connelly’s blog. He is a marketing expert that lives in the UK. He is very clever and has helped a lot of people improve their marketing and increase their income. This sounds like a marketing pitch itself, doesn’t it?
It isn’t, but it these tips sound true. In my experience, I’ve done my best work when I’ve entered into a relationship with my clients. We end up up being, if not friends, then happy acquaintances. And that’s the way it should be. Here they are:
- Don’t focus on closing sales. Instead, focus on opening relationships. You do better work when you see the acquisition of a new client as the opening of a relationship, rather than the close or end of a process.
- Consider firing your worst clients or customers. It will lower your stress. It will also give you more time to delight your best clients. Delighted clients stay with you for longer and are a wonderful source of referrals. They also tend to refer other great clients, [birds of a feather and all that].
- Customize the service you provide, so that it’s a reflection of your unique approach to business. This makes your business one-of-a-kind. I did this and no longer have competitors. More marketing professionals hire me than any other profession.
- Open your mind to new information. Things change. People change. If your opinions and views remain static, you will make bad decisions.
- Get the best accountant you can afford. I tried to save money with a cheap accountant in the early years and lost thousands as a result.
- Keep your body active. Do some kind of activity for at least 30 minutes every day. As Leonardo da Vinci said: “Iron rusts from disuse; stagnant water loses its purity and in cold weather becomes frozen; even so does inaction sap the vigour of the mind.”
- It makes sense to outsmart your competitors. It makes even more sense to outCARE your competitors too.
I had a friend email me last week to tell me that she had posted an image of mine from my website (of penguins) and it had six “likes” and twelve “pins”. Great, I thought, but what does that mean?
I’ve heard of Pinterest a few times before, but to be honest, I spend WAY too much at my computer already. But I did set up an account on the invitation of my friend and pinned a few things from her board to mine, and I have to admit, it is addictive. It’s like an organized Google/images. You see hundreds of images that are popular, and if you see one you like, you can pin it to one of your own categories and you can follow people who have similar taste to you, and other people follow you.
If you have a great image on a website and someone sees it, they can pin it to their board and in no time it is generating interest and being “re-pinned” to other boards. I suppose the hope is that those people will go to the website that had the image on it in the first place. I felt a little special for a few hours last week when my penguins went “viral” (okay, 12 isn’t viral, but I don’t know any of those people) and who knows where it could lead.
Social networking is continuing to grow. We saw the introduction of Google+ and it has grown quickly (mainly with web developers). Facebook keeps evolving, Twitter is still an important player and other less known social groups like Instagram (an app for iPhones that allows users to share photos) quickly becoming popular with millions of users. StumbleUpon has become more mainstream as well. (choose your interests and this site takes to you topics that are all over the web).
Here are some of the trends that are really going wild at the moment and getting larger. Some of them may be right for your business.
Smart phones have helped to add the dimension of GPS to your applications so that you can have recommendations on where to shop or where sales are happening based on where you are. Called “check-in” services, if you allow your location to be available to these services, you can stay in touch with friends, get instant sales or deals from stores near your location. Foursquare is one of these groups. You can get recommendations from other Foursquare members on where a good restaurant is in an area, for example.
Apparently, women aren’t as keen to sign on to these types of services as men. Citing privacy and worries about stalking, for some the promise of bargains nearby isn’t enough of a lure. Plus, people are already sharing so much on tweets and facebook, does everyone need to know our exact location at any one time?
The first item isn’t exactly commerce, but a site called HelloWallet (which Canadians can use, but is set up for U.S. banking and taxes) sounds like a great service that is not tied to any financial institution, so is not selling you credit or ways to get hold of your money. It helps you manage your money, and helps you balance your budget, save for your goals (be it vacations or just getting out of debt).
Goshi, is an iPhone app that shows you things for sale in your own neighbourhood. A “mobile storefront in your neighbourhood”. taap it, another app to help you eat, shop and see what’s going on locally. Skyfer is a place for professionals to put their credentials online (think plumber, babysitter, dog walker) and then for people in that neighbourhood to find those services. Grabio is another location based classified app.
I’ve been looking up recipes for a few years now online. I have a few favourite cookbooks that have my seasonal favourites and I make a lot of things without needing to look anything up, but once in a while I want to make something with an ingredient I have, or I’ve never made before. I often do searches now for recipes and don’t bother looking at my cookbooks to see if there is a recipe in there. There are thousands of sites and blogs that are all about food. Raw Food, Diabetic recipes, French cooking and everything in between. Some sites are more about the photography of food than the recipes themselves. And food apps are on the rise too!.
Feastie is a site that asks you what you want to cook, and it creates a grocery list for the ingredients. And it features recipes from all sorts of sites so you find new great cooking sites in the bargain! Yummly claims to have every recipe in the world! Punchfork claims to have the best new recipes from top food sites. The photographs are awesome and lists the top image (and recipe) from each site. Keeprecipes.com lets you find recipes and keep them safe “in the cloud” when you sign up. Most of these sites have a full site and mobile version.
Subscription based service
Now this is a great marketing idea. A lot of these sites aren’t available to Canadians, but a good idea to think about. And I’m sure it will catch on in Canada too!
- babba box. A monthly subscription of materials and instructions of things to do (crafty stuff) with your kids.
- Birchbox.com samples of beauty products.
- Lost crates is stationery and accessories.
- Umba box – handmade goods (connected to Etsy) each month.
- Lollihop – healthy snacks monthly!
- Smart-ass Knitters/World Domination – bi monthly hand dyed wool, pattern, and small gift. This is in Haliburton, Ontario!
A lot of countries in Africa already can make payments and put money onto their mobile phones. And that is catching on here (as in U.S. mainly) too. Here are a few sites that are doing it.
- Square – – a mobile square card reader that allows you to swipe a credit card on your phone! Pretty cool. Think of all those markets you go to in the summer! How handy would that be!
- Go payment – similar to square, this one is by intuit. And will soon be launching in Canada.
- Dwolla – Send money to friends through social networks, pay for things using your mobile phone, merchants accept payments for a set .25 cents per transaction.
- google wallet – store your credit card details in the cloud and when you go to a merchant that accepts google wallet, you pay by tapping your phone.
This is similar and tied in with mobile money, where you are offered for example 20% off while in a store if you sign up for a link to their Facebook page or to agree to receive texts from that store.
I mentioned these a couple of months back. These are getting a bit more creative. For example, the Iron Man movie poster had a QR code in the corner, so that when you took a picture of the code, you went to a trailer to find out more about what the movie was about.
Shop Socially is the idea of getting your happy customers to do your advertising for you. The old fashion way was word of mouth, but now with Facebook and Twitter, you can “Like” a product and it will go on your Facebook wall, and your friends can not only see what you bought, but some retailers can offer them a discount because you referred them.
This is just a small taste of what has started this past year and is going to be bigger in 2012. And I’m sure there are things that we haven’t even thought of yet!
I wrote last month about how YouTube was a great way to promote your business and how it is fairly easy and inexpensive to create your own videos.
Recently there has been a product that has been given lots of press due to the way the company has marketed it.
Dermablend has created a new makeup that will completely cover tattoos. It’s a great product and the usual marketing would have likely been to show before and after images of a person with a small tattoo and how it was covered. Instead they used Rico Genest (a.k.a. Zombie Boy) who has spent the past ten years adding these tattoos bit by bit.
But more remarkable is how this company’s advertising went viral by using him as their model for their new cover up makeup. Watch his transformation here. And below is a behind the scenes video which at one point he says “I think now I’ll go out and get a job!” He seems to be doing alright for himself, although I feel a bit sorry for his grandmother.
Twitter is a micro blog, or mini blog. You can only use 140 characters in a single post. It is simple to set up, very public is a one to many platform. One post can go viral. This is done by a Tweet being re-tweeted. When you re-tweet you can have 160 characters to allow for the new address.
How do you get followers? The best way is to mention your account to people on your website, in person and on all your advertising or paperwork. And write interesting posts and they will tell others. You can also follow other Tweets and your name will show up as a follower.
What should you write? The rule of thumb for a business Twitter account is a third sales and marketing, a third general company info ie. General information what you do, how you can help people, about your staff, promoting other clients etc. And finally a third industry news. New and exciting advancements in your particular business, laws that affect your business and re-tweets by followers.
You should have things like free items for followers, valuable knowledge to pass on, calls to action (if they do something in a particular time, they get a bargain)
Another aspect to Twitter that larger firms are using is searching what has been twitted about themselves. It is good to keep your finger on the pulse of how your company is being perceived out in the world. Many large companies are now using Twitter for their customer service.
Facebook is different in that you aren’t limited to only a few characters. You can have links, images and movies. It’s almost like a website in itself. It is more structured and has rules. There are distinct pages for businesses called “pages”. Here, your followers are called “fans” rather than “friends”. Pages must be linked to a personal account, so you have to decide who in your company you can rely on to hand it over should they leave the company and who wants it linked to their own account.
Once you set up a Page, you will want to choose an image that best reflects your company, and that is usually your logo.
How often to post to your “wall”?
It’s a good idea to have a plan of things that you will post, so you don’t spend unnecessary time looking for ideas of what to post to your page. Like the Twitter advice, it is important to make it interesting enough so that fans who have signed up want to continue getting your updates and even share it with their friends. If you are a retail store, it could be information about an exciting new product that you are introducing, a restaurant could have a new menu being announced. Non-profits would have information about someone they’ve recently helped or details of an upcoming fundraiser.
How often to post depends on your business and how much time to have to devote to Facebook. You don’t want to post so often that you turn off people, but if you leave it too long they may just forget about you! Likely once a week or bi-weekly for a small business, and a couple of times a week for a big company with lots of news. But it is completely up to your own business.
How to build a following?
Announce your new page through email marketing. You can use an existing database of email contacts to start yourself off. Put it in your email signature so that everyone you email to, gets the news. Put up physical notices in your place of business. Link to it on your website. And tell all of your friends in your Facebook world and your real world that you now have a business presence too.
You can also follow other companies through your page, and they can do the same with you, creating other avenues for creating new customers.
Here is a timely article about customer service and Social Media.