Posted on Oct 18, 2010 by Michael Herman |
Posted in Social Media
I think we can all recall our childhood of walking through museums and libraries and constantly being reminded to use our “inside voices” when taking field trips. You are listening to the teacher or tour guide and speaking softly when talking with friends or asking questions. Don’t you feel that the same applies to social media?
As individuals or businesses get started in social media, their first reaction is to start shouting out information to anyone who will listen about themselves or the products or services that they offer. What’s the first word in the phrase “social media”? – “Social” – right? We can’t be very social if we stand in a room full of people and shout out information without listening to what people are saying and even responding to their needs. Maybe a review of “Field Trip Rules” is necessary!
Rule #1 – Listen And Learn
When beginning your social media strategy, take the time to stand back and listen. What are people looking for and how could your business help them? As you gather some of these ideas, start adding some helpful posts on your blog. Once you do start interacting, you can always share your post with them, but most importantly these posts will help you stand out as a reputable source in your industry.
Rule #2 – Use Your Inside Voice
As you see areas for you to start conversing with people, the best way to jump into the conversation is to start with a whisper. Offer a quick tip to see if you could help solve the problem. No need to shout at them about your company and all that you offer when you first meet. Remember, if you are talking on Twitter, you only have 140 characters and trust me…you don’t need to use them all! A conversation starter could be to ask a question about their business or even an interest of theirs that you noticed in their profile. By beginning the conversation slowly, your trust is built with your new connection.
Rule #3 – Don’t Roughhouse
Whether you are using social media as a means of customer service, lead generation, or a mixture of both, you are sure to run into some individuals that might say things you don’t want to hear. Don’t be too quick to react, but take a step back and think of the potential dangers to your reputation if you push, pull, or say harsh words back to your online connections. Always practice good manners, courtesy, and respect.
Don’t be caught in “social media timeout”…. Just practice the basic rules and you will be sure to enjoy engaging with your connections. What rules could you add from your childhood?
There are so many businesses that fear the unknown and are frightened of starting email marketing. Although many are still hesitant to move away from their tried-and-true snail-mail methods, others are rapidly discovering that email marketing is one of the most effective means of generating sales.
When Shop.org surveyed retailers for its State of Retailing Online 2009 report, it found that email was the most-mentioned successful tactic overall.
The Ad Effectiveness Survey commissioned by Forbes Media in February/March 2009 placed email marketing second only to search engine optimization for generating conversions.
And research conducted in 2009 by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) found that email outperforms all other forms of direct marketing. The bigger question, of course, is why? Of all the hundreds or even thousands of messages consumers are exposed to each day, why is email marketing so effective?
1. Email Marketing Reaches Many!
It’s hard to find someone that doesn’t have at least one email address! What this means for your business is that you can reach out to your entire customer and prospect base.
2. Email Marketing Is Proactive!
Email marketing goes directly into your customer’s email inbox! They don’t have to search through a phone directory or newspaper to find your services! With one click of a mouse, they can contact you directly to get a quote or more information about your services!
3. Email Marketing is Targeted
Most forms of advertising are based on the idea that if you hit thousands of people with your message, even though it may mean nothing to most of them, a few are likely to respond.
Email marketing is based on the idea of sending the right message directly to the right people based on their preferences, local market conditions, and other factors.
You can build a master list and then segment it by geographic location, marital status, gender, age, income, time of year, etc. Doing so eliminates a lot of the guesswork that makes other forms of marketing so inefficient.
4. Email Marketing Provides Data
We at Digital Street provide you with reports to show which emails or messages went through and which didn’t, so you can improve your next campaign. You are able to run split tests, sending one offer or message to half your list and a different one to the other half, so you can get a better feel for what your customers want and what your prospects buy from you!
5. Email Marketing Allows You to Engage
It’s nice to get the immediate reaction from a customer who sees your ad just before going shopping. But your real goal is to build a relationship with a broader base of prospects so they think of you whenever it’s time to hit the stores.
Email marketing allows you to do that by bringing them shopping tips, updates on trends, seasonal items, and special loyalty-program deals on a regular basis. It’s a great way to engage them—and keep them engaged.
6. Email Marketing is Less Intrusive
Unlike telemarketing calls, email marketing doesn’t interrupt a prior activity to deliver a message. Opening email is the activity your customers and prospects are engaged in when they see your message. If you’ve done a good job of building that relationship, they’ll look forward to seeing what you have to say.
7. Email Marketing Works
According to the DMA’s (Direct Marketing Association) research, email marketing generated a return on investment (ROI) of $43.62 for every dollar spent on it in 2009. You’re unlikely to find that kind of ROI from any other form of marketing or advertising—the best reason of all to launch an email-marketing campaign.
When done correctly, email marketing allows you to become (and remain) visible to your customers and prospects with highly targeted messages at a minimal cost, all while delivering outstanding, measurable results that will ripple far beyond your pond of current customers.
Posted on Apr 30, 2010 by Michael Herman |
Posted in Social Media
Even if you have a great product it can be a real challenge to get a new company off the ground. If people don’t know about your products they obviously can’t buy them.
Typically, new businesses will invest heavily in traditional advertising, cold calling, and email marketing. All of these are legitimate and should be pursued.
However, a robust social media component to your marketing efforts can make all the difference.
Social media is about generating buzz. The only thing worse than bad press is no press at all. If people are not talking about your brand they’re probably not buying it.
Here are 10 reasons your small business should be using social media:
1. More Traffic (a lot more) – The amount of traffic a successful viral marketing campaign can generate is simply staggering.
2. Reputation Management – Find out what people are saying about your brand and where.
3. Increases Search Rank – The more people share your content and talk about your brand it generates natural links back to your site. This increases your search engine rank which increases your traffic and the quality of it.
4. Branding – Creating a recognizable identity and a strong brand is key to success.
5. Buzz – Get people talking about your brand. This will increase the spread of your brand via word of mouth. People trust what their friends and family tell them.
6. Levels The Playing Field – Social media allows tiny companies and one man shops to get the same exposure as multi-billion dollar companies with massive advertising budgets. A single viral video has the potential to be seen by as many people as a million dollar Super Bowl ad.
7. Saves Money – Social media costs a fraction of what traditional advertising does.
8. Increases Trust – Companies with a strong presence on social networks are more accessible. Companies that are more accessible tend to be more trustworthy (or are perceived that way).
9. Makes You Better – When you engage with customers through social media you’ll know what they want, what’s wrong, what’s right, and how you can do better. Domino’s Pizza heard from customers via social networks about how terrible their pizza had become. They responded by throwing out all the old recipes and starting from scratch.
10. Increases Your Market – The web has made doing business all over the world as easy as doing business in your own neighborhood. A robust social media presence will expose your brand to potential customers all over the world.
Posted on Apr 22, 2010 by Michael Herman |
Posted in Social Media
I’ve been convinced over the last few months that location based services like Foursquare are going to be huge this year. Foursquare’s latest move may be the just the catalyst needed for this technology to catch fire.
Foursquare is now making itself much more business friendly by offering a suite of tools for business owners to use in conjunction with the service.
Now every unclaimed business venue has a link asking, “Are you the manager of this business?” The link takes managers to a page asking them for proof that they are indeed the manager so that Foursquare’s sales team can call them to set them up with tools for claiming their venue and managing offers. There is also a new Businesses page explaining the different tools available to local merchants.
Businesses who claim their venues on Foursquare get a dashboard with realtime stats on number of check-ins, times of day people check in, most recent visitors, and most frequent visitors. They can also manage the offers and badges people get when they check in. These include Mayor specials, specials for people who check in a certain number of times, or wildcard specials which can be customized. A special can be anything from a free drink to 20 percent off a purchase.
This is pretty exciting stuff. I can imagine this being very popular with businesses. The marketing potential of this technology is impossible to calculate at this point because it’s just too new. Mobile technology in all its forms is getting more popular by the second largely due to the iPhone. Local businesses need a way to cash-in on this technology and integrate their brands with it. Foursquare is undoubtedly the first of what will be many companies developing ways to do that.
Businesses should take advantage of this and give it a try. There’s no downside to registering your venue on Foursquare and creating a couple of promotions.
Posted on Oct 21, 2009 by Michael Herman |
Posted in Social Media
I told you earlier this week about a new study showing most small businesses still ignore social media. As I said in the post, I think this presents a huge opportunity for companies to get ahead of their competition by getting in the game now.
With that in mind, read the new post by Lauren Fisher over at Mashable. She profiles 5 small businesses that are successfully using social media. It really shows what companies can achieve when they embrace new technologies and new ways of doing business.