Thinking of Changing from Direct Sales to Inbound Marketing?

I recently had a conversation with a very successful business owner regarding the changing of company marketing success.  He has run a very successful direct sales company for the past twenty plus years and is now intrigued, curious would be the word he would use about how inbound marketing could change the scope and future of his business. This question is being asked by many, I assume, whom have built successful businesses using the old word marketing techniques (Newspaper, TV, Direct Sales).

As we sat and discussed the future and the power of using inbound marketing strategies for the future of the company I became concerned for not only the directions our conversation was taking but what many executives may be doing to their now successful business model. Are they jumping ship for another vessel which will not carry as much load?

My Point: Inbound Marketing, Social Media and Web-based marketing practices are great power pack of energy for a company, They can take a successful, well run business with the right vision and aptitude to fantastic new heights in business.  They however are not the next bigger and greater thing for all companies. With out the proper foundation of business and support Inbound Marketing and Social Media are a lot like switching your Newspaper budgets to Radio and Dropping your core vehicle for marketing. It just never works, you get a new exciting single success in the meantime lose all your marketing momentum.

Example: I ran the print marketing for a company in Boise Idaho in the late 90’s and I will never forget the mistake this business owner made. He had in the marketplace the number 2 furniture store in the Metro area at that time and ran a comprehensive marketing plan on TV and in Newspaper every week. His Audience expected him to be there. His largest competitive nightmare (RC Wiley) had just come to town and had already put several of his competitors out of business. His marketing strategy was working and he was actually gaining share in a more competitive market. He made a rash decision one day in early spring to drop his Newspaper Budget and sink into a New Radio Promotion with targeted Direct Mail.  Long Story Short 30 days later he had his worst moth of sales in over 10 years, he immediate switched back to his original marketing and it took him over one year to get sales back to the same levels as before the rash decision.  His audience  did not know how to find him and perceived that in the new competitive market he was no longer a player and found alternatives.

Five tips to consider when starting your Inbound Marketing Program:

  1. What are my goals and expectations – set clear-defined goals for growth in your company. Remember these tools are meant to add to the company’s current audience base, not become the new smaller more connected audience.
  2. Designate the proper staffing for your inbound marketing strategy. Asking your current team to add it to their plate or to switch their focus will only deteriorate the success you are already having and translate into a flat or the deterioration bottom line.
  3. Set realistic Time Tables for growth – Inbound Marketing is not Direct Mail, you can’t count success in a week. You must build the audience, nurture the audience and then feed the audience before it will grow.
  4. Keep working you already have a successful business model, don’t stop jump off the boat and swim for the other ship just because it looks exciting. Your current ship is already going the right direction. Inbound and social media marketing should just help you gain more speed and collect more passengers.
  5. Commit – You can not be successful in Inbound marketing by just signing up. You most commit to the process. You must provide content, provide service, launch multiple strategies and measure response and adjust, again and again. This is why it is important to dedicate a staff or agency to helping you work this engine. Inbound marketing and social media marketing demand active participation.
So if trying to decide how to enhance your direct sales team with inbound marketing is your mission, Go for it. You will see great success and a big potential for success. If you goal is to turn inbound marketing into your new sales company, caution, you make be jumping off into a smaller vessel that is not meant to take you on the long journey of success.

Business Marketing advice from Harry Potter

Albus Dumbledore

Image via Wikipedia

I just got home from seeing the final chapter of Harry Potter.  It is ok, I will not be sharing the all important movie parts if you have not seen the movie, Just one line.

So how does Harry Potter and Business marketing relate accept for the fact their franchise is the one of the richest success stories in Hollywood history?  Let me not hold you in suspense…..

In the final Chapter Harry and Dumbledore do have one more conversation together and Dumbledore corrects an earlier line from the second film “The Chamber of Secrets“that really hit me as a great point in marketing. Do you remember the line “There will always be help at Hogwarts when you ask for it?” In this film he corrects himself and says that help will always be there for those who deserve it?  Quite a difference in those lines in life and in business.

Your business was built with your own sweet and dreams, and you probably have worked harder than anyone will ever know to get it growing. My Question is have you earned your customers and do you deserve their loyalty?

In today’s fast paced Social Driven Marketing world there is advice and tips every where on how to gain thousands of fans, followers and connections. It seems that many of the tips follow the same path as Dumbledore in the Chamber of Secrets – all you need to do is asked for friends, followers and connections and your Social Media and Marketing troubles are rescued and your will be victorious.  But how true is the corrected statement, help is for those who deserve it?  There are thousands of business people who have started gung-ho on social media adventures, gaining handful of fans, connections or followers as they added content and conversation online, only to find their fans did not share, their cash registers did not ring and they felt hey were wasting their time on meaningless conversation.

Why then are so many teaching that social media is the perfect marketing tool? That this single marketing tool can change the landscape of your business? Because it can and has for those who have earned it! The  individuals which stayed connected and invested their time, thoughts and expertise not to just enrich their pockets but to help others enrich theirs.  They gave first and continued to give of their knowledge until they had earned the right to ask for help, then their followers, connections and friends sprang to action and helped them succeed in their plans and business success.

If you are starting a social media campaign or have lost hope in your campaign take these tips seriously.  Victory in social media marketing is not for the ones who just show up and ask for help, you must earn the right to receive the help.

5 – Tips to get you started:

  1. Share you knowledge – you have a knowledge base, you might not think it is much but you do have a knowledge base share it freely. Yes if you have the secret recipe you don’t have to share it, but you can share tips and knowledge that will help others create their own secret recipe
  2. Share your answers –  invest time on the social media front helping others get the answers they need to be successful or find enjoyment.
  3. Share your advice – Who, what, when, why?  Pretend you’re a newspaper reporter and you have to interview yourself for an article. Remember the 4 W’s and start writing.
  4. Share your encouragement – People love to help people that make them feel good about themselves. Make someone else feel special
  5. Share your visions and dreams – What do you want the world to look like. Tell us. Yes you might get ridiculed from some but mostly you will help the best of us believe in you. And until we believe in you we will never promote or stand up for you.
So there you have it, Social Marketing tips from Harry Potter.  The movie is worth the price of admission.

 

Facebook Promotions Made Easy.

ShortStack APP

ShortStack App for Facebook Promotions

I just finished a webinar on making Facebook Promotions. I have promoted this company before but was so excited about this tool I had to write another quick tip on Facebook Promotions. The Company Shortstack based out of Northern Nevada has developed an easy to use promotion and I-Frame tool that I believe everyone could run and use with little to no training.

Their tool event comes with Data base management if you are willing to pay a small monthly service charge.  They have Free services and if you are a small business looking to find less than 2500 fans locally you can use their service for under $10 a month.

Check out their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/shortstacklab

Facebook is becoming easier for businesses to use everyday. And companies such as ShortStack are leading the way.

Have fun designing and promoting.

Facebook ads for small local business?

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

The question of the day for local marketing is if Facebook can really deliver local audience that is primed for shopping your store or locations?

You may have heard by now that Facebook has now passed Google in daily usage on the internet. That stat alone is mind-boggling, if you think of the incredible reach that Facebook has been able to generate, by allowing an open forum of communication to take place among friends.  So how does that apply to local business and marketing?

I have written several posts regarding Audience and the importance that your marketing strategy include an analysis of the audience value, based on your end goal. So Facebook we now know has a tremendous audience that should have all the qualities of broad-based marketing combined with the power of targeting. However are they looking to shop?  Is this Audience here to support your business or to just share interesting information with others?

I have not found any real statistics to support that Facebook fans produce any great success in sales when it comes to local broad-based marketing.  I do know from experience there have been instances of brilliance with local fan bases on Facebook that create one fantastic event in marketing. I recall a restaurant owner who challenged his friends to help him reach the 500 fans club, and once they did he threw an after hours party for all his fans only, he generated a new fan base with in a day and had a party which generated future clients.

So I guess the question once again is do you have a marketing plan for Facebook?

  1. Are you a local small business who can generate events on a regular basis that will continue to attack and inspire your friend network to respond?
  2. Are you expecting that just because you open up your Facebook page that it will grow organically to the point of marketing success by pure numbers?
  3. Have you designed your Facebook page to generate leads?

Here is what I need to share with you if you are a small local business:

  1. Facebook Ads gives you the power to target local consumers and only pay if they actually click on your ad. (PPC Model)
  2. Facebook Pages must contain information and conversation which interests your reader
  3. Fans get bored quickly so your strategy needs to be nimble.
  4. Don’t over sale. Give Back 2-3x more than you want to receive. Understand why they are there and what they are looking for and then add value to your relationship.
  5. Respond quickly and professionally to all communication.
  6. Ask for their business on your fan page.
  7. Build local Facebook ads that play to the customers needs not yours.
  8. Link Facebook ads to a lead generation page on Facebook or Website but make sure the fan gets something of value to them in return.
  9. Build multiple campaigns to run at the same time. Remember there are still only so many people in the marketplace for your widget today and with the PPC model you can afford to have multiple product lines marketed at the same time.
  10. Build a Blog and Feed it to Facebook so that you generate interesting content regularly and your fans have another outlet to communicate with you. Also ask you blog followers to follow you on Facebook. Provide additional content of Facebook. ( Photos)

In conclusion, I believe Facebook can be a very powerful local marketing tool, however you must remember that you still must create the audience.  Unlike traditional media in social media you must create your own marketplace and audience. This takes time and attention on your part.  As a small business owner it is a good idea to discuss with a marketing consultant when designing your social media strategy.  They can help you develop the plan, however I do suggest that you invest in the process and become a voice in your own plan. Fans want to know you, not your agency or consultant.

If  you would like to discuss your small business further sign up for my e-mail list and send me some contact information so that I can communicate with you.  I love to discuss this process with small business owners and help them get started. Check out my website at www.1to1valet.com

 

 

Where does Mobile Marketing fit in Local Marketing?

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

We got an App for that!

Raising two teenagers I often wonder about changes in the world that they will someday see as significant for their lifetime.  Has Apple and the Droid marketplace created such a technology that it transforms life for generations to come?

My generation it was the Microwave oven, MTV and the Computer. The list of invention in technology since then would take weeks to type so please just let me jump ahead and generalize a bit.

The Mobile App, is it this generations microwave oven?  If it is How can local businesses use such a powerful tool to transform there own marketplace and potential marketing practices?

Technology seems to suggest that the APP feature on your phone or Facebook page is a cool tool that one would use to add entertainment or function to ones busy life or schedule. The the premise of building an App may seem difficult and confusing to most local business owners in a marketplace. However just as building a website today does not take a rocket scientist, mobile applications, mobile web pages and mobile marketing has changed at a rapid pace and is now doable with very little knowledge base to start with.  AD services such as, ADMOB,and WCMobi,  have developed services that provide platforms for local business to build a Application that is functional for the I-Phone and Droid systems, A customized web site made to fit all mobile phones and includes the important features of I Tap connections with , mapping, social connections etc…

So if the technology is available at an affordable rate how does local business use this technology to drive business and create the buzz about there APP.

  1. Keep it Simple – Stay true to who your best customers believe you to be.  If you are local restaurant build an app that features your menu and your chef. Maybe offer a monthly recipe from the chef that they can try at home, or offer a VIP club Thursday night take home item that is posted each Thursday and allows app users to reserve there dish by 1pm for 5 pm pick up and take home.
  2. Connect it to your Social Media- Biggest reason is Growth potential and additional clients reach.  Make sure your App customers can send it to their friends and share there new toy.
  3. Map out a quarterly Mobile Marketing Plan. Include: offers, frequency of updates, growth goals, responsible party.
  4. Create VIP Buzz with your best customers- Ask them to down load your app and try it out for you. Give them a Discount on their next order for filling out a satisfaction survey after a short trial.  Mobile is just like Social, you must listen to the clients and adapt strategy where needed.
  5. Add Text Marketing communications and create weekly or monthly exclusive event for Mobile users. (Weekly Mobile only Coupon, Mobile VIP After-hours Event,  Monthly Mobile Only Professional Advice.) Make sure your mobile users feel like they are receiving a special deal because they are members of your club.  State up-front the frequency and reason for sending them texts then make it worth there time.

If you are a local business owner feel secure in the fact that your app does not need to be on the Apple Store for you to be successful. Just as your local website has little value globally, you really only need your local marketplace to capture your app and share it for you to make this rather small investment pay big rewards in marketing.

Local apps should be considered 1 to 1 marketing tools that allow you to communicate with a close group of customers and their friend s easily, the goal to capture that one extra purchase or use monthly  that they might be spending elsewhere, and to increase your share of market with your circle of influence.  For more information and a Free Mobile consultation contact Valet Marketing at www.1to1valet.com or get a started with your own unique Keyword at www.wcmobi.com