Keep your Business Local

Community Based Marketing and Loyalty Programs for Small Business


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Turn a Researcher into a Customer

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 How to Turn a Curious Researcher Into a Happy Customer.

We invest a tremendous amount of time and money on social media. The question is, how can we make “it” work just as hard for us? There are some great ideas in is article on how to do this. 

Be careful. unless you have staff, it is probably not possible to participate on all the social media platforms. Identify the ones that match up with your Target Market, and that you can support. A consistent online presence will build your Brand and encourage Customer Engagement.

Remember to use the Data Analytics Tools to keep an eye on traffic flow. Track where your visitors come from, their demographics and how interested they are in your content, i.e. how long they stay. This is the best way to know if you are getting your message to your potential customers. Repeat what works and discard the rest.

If you need to, get help with your online marketing, and content creation and distribution. Doing it badly is almost as bad as not doing it at all.


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Customer Engagement – How does it work?

Picture4How does it work, or better yet, how can you make it work for you? The first thing to understand is that this is a Multi-Step Process. A Process that uses different marketing components to interact with your Target Market at each step in the buying cycle.

Step One is to tell potential customers about your Products and Services. Traditional (print, TV) and online channels (website, social media) are great for doing this. The next step is to invite potential customers to learn more about the Products and Services by visiting a website, signing up for a webinar, reading a blog, on social media, or requesting a brochure by mail. Let them get to know your products and brand by posting content that interests them. Show then what you can do for them, give away free trials and samples.

Next, is the Purchase. Make it easy for your Target Market to buy. Find out what is comfortable for them. This could be a Subscription Page on your website, a store-front or a sales representative. Encourage current and potential customers to sign up for your newsletter, follow you on Facebook and other social media sites. This is a great way to confirm the buying decision. Ask them to share their experience with their friends.

Now that you have a customer base. Send them promotions by direct mail, via your website, Facebook or using sales representatives. The greatest compliment is a repeat sale. It is the least expensive and shows that customers like your offering. A trilled customer is the most effective marketing asset a business can have. Word of mouth and organic sharing is the most persuasive form of communication. Keep in touch with customers via eNewsletters, blogs, posting offers on social media and invitations to special events.

Potential customers are in different places in the buying cycle. Repeat the Steps in the Process to give the stimulus and information they need while making the buying decision.


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Yes, we still like our Loyalty Programs

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Loyalty Report – Canadian Edition| Maritz Loyalty Marketing.

Consumers still love their Loyalty Programs. Many see them as a way to get more value from the businesses they frequent and the brands they buy. The most popular Loyalty Programs are easy to understand and offer rewards that fit their lifestyle.

Effectively marketing the Program is the key to success. Company websites, social media, blog posts and Pinterest pages often showcase the Programs. Many use in-store signage to promote their benefits, and employees to tell customers about the Program and to enroll them. Talking directly to customers is often the best way to spread the word.

Members of the best Programs are engaged. Company communications, reward structures and the redemption process appeal to the markets they serve. The Programs can be modified in response to customer feedback and the changing business environment. Members get the most flexibility with Multi-Merchant Programs. They encourage cross promotion with other businesses. Points collected at the dry cleaners can be redeemed for flowers or a birthday gift. Members get choice and the merchants can leverage each others’ customer base.

All manage rewards and points to get the most effective Return on Investment (ROI). A positive ROI means the program is sustainable. The key is to balance making it profitable for the business and attractive for the members.

Marketing for Small Business is really Relationship Marketing. The unique experience you create for customers makes your business different from the one next door. Loyalty Programs for Small Business encourage customers to build those links, frequent the small businesses in their area and to “Shop Local”.

Want more Marketing and Loyalty Tips and Techniques:


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Time to Tune-up your Online Presence

Big fireworkNow is the time to get ready for the New Year!

This is a good time to update your online presence, but where do you start? Your first step is to decide on your focus for 2014.

Is it to build brand awareness, increase traffic, increase market share or all the above? Your objectives determine your strategy. Based on that comes the implementation plan.

If your want to build traffic to your website, consider starting a Blog and/or being a guest Blogger. To increase brand awareness, use different social media channels to reach new demographic groups. Use promotions on your website and Facebook to increase market share. Email campaigns are great to get your message directly to your customers and increase customer retention.

Your implementation plan starts with a customer profile. Identify the type of information customers want, how they buy and the social media they frequent. Develop an editorial calendar based on the profile, choose the topics, the authors of each piece, and how often and where to publish. Select topics for content and channels based on the profile of your target market.

Then get started. Working the plan takes away the guess-work. Assign authors and publish. Use data analytics to understand the type of content that works on what platform and repeat it. Remember you can reuse content on other platforms and in different formats.

Always keep in mind your goals. You not only want to entertain but to tell your audience about developments in the business, announce new products and services, and promotions.

Happy New Year! May this one be your best yet!

Fireworks


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5 social media marketing trends for 2014 | Frederic Gonzalo

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5 social media marketing trends for 2014 | Frederic Gonzalo.

It is that time again. Along with the holiday plans, parties and presents, we need to do a “check-up” on what is working in our online strategies and what is not. The statistics in this article show that there are subtle shifts in how different age groups use social media.

Facebook is still going strong. The average time spent on the site is about 20 minutes per day per user. The interesting thing is that there is a decline in the amount of time 13-17 year olds spend on the platform but 23% of the other age groups still use it.

On the other hand, Twitter usage by the 13-17 year old group has increased by 26%. This number is expected to continue to increase. Twitter devotees like the real-time communication they have with their followers.

The Snapchat platform is another one to watch. This mobile application lets users send out messages that disappear after a defined time. This approach is potentially a response to privacy concerns about content on the internet. The question remains, how does it fit into an online strategy?

Google+ is now the second largest social network behind Facebook. Its search capabilities and ability to evolve make it an important player. The down side is that not many marketers have embraced the platform.

Video continues to grow. Showing, not telling is still the best way to present information. Using Podcasts, YouTube and Vine make it easy to create and distribute video content.

Change is the norm and so as we review what we did last year and prepare for 2014, the important thing is to find the channels that work for your business.

Happy Planning!


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The “New and Improved” Buggy Whip?

Buggy WhipEver feel as if you are designing and promoting the “new and improved” buggy whip? A product or service that seems obsolete. Or is it? Many companies are using online strategies to re-invent themselves.

For example, the used car magazine that offers its inventory online. Customers can browse and get consumer feed-back on each product. What about the online coupon market and the fact that we can now buy almost everything online?

Take another look at your processes and procedures and how you interact with your customers. There might be a more effective way using online strategies. Today’s customers go to the internet first, do their research and then decide when and where to buy.

Business renewal is the key to maintaining your place in the market. How do your customers like to interact with you? When you can answer that question, you can design a process that works for your business.

It can be as simple as displaying your products on Pinterest, facilitating online ordering or providing customer service on an interactive website. Always remember, make it easy for customers to contact you online and directly. Make the buying process easy. Reinvent the “buggy whip”.


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Just in Case you were wondering if being online works

To summarize:
  • Email marketing is alive and well
  • Use of smartphones to access content is up
  • Customers use blogs to research products and then make buying decisions
  • Images in posts get more attention
  • Nurturing leads results in more customers……
The marketplace has changed. Customers want to access information when they have a requirement, make a decision and then purchase at the channel that suits them the best. The challenge is to get your message to them when they want it. An effective online strategy incorporates the platforms that are used most often by your target market and delivers the type of content that they find interesting.