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How do you fix a bad website? It’s easy.

No SaleThere are many books on the subject of marketing and website design but I just wanted to boil it down so you never take your mind off of the importance of using your website effectively.

A website is NOT something you create and leave to gather cyber dust on the Internet.  Think of it as a living thing that needs to be updated / fed often and in some cases very often.  Your website should be looked upon as a 24-hour salesperson that is working hard for you.  Most companies get into the “yea, we have a website but it doesn’t bring in any sales” syndrome because they are not using it properly.

How do you fix a bad website?

Here is a list of things you can add to your website to help you achieve your marketing goals.

  • Make sure that your website has a method of contact on every page.  This can be a contact form or an image Call To Action (CTA) directing them to a form.  Please remember that most will not fill out a ling form so keep the inputs to a minimum.
  • Stay away from anything that moves (Flash and jQuery, etc.) that does not add to the users experience.  In other words if the imagery does not DIRECTLY relate to or help in the sales process then leave it off.  ESPECIALLY moving images.
  • Add video Testimonials and make a prominent Call To Action (CTA) image directing people to the page.  Make sure you have more than three.  You can combine written with video as well.  If you sell many services have testimonials weaved into each service page.
  • Have a video (Talking head) of the owner speaking about the business and the BENEFITS of doing business with them.  Do NOT bash the competition.  Don’t even mention them.  3 minutes maximum unless you are very charismatic and have important stuff to say.
  • Include case studies of previous clients you have helped.
  • Use a lot of text.  If you need to elaborate then do so.  If someone wants to stop reading they will.  “It’s better to have and not to need than to need and not to have.”  Having a short amount of text is like having your salesperson stop speaking after 200 words.  Don’t steal copy from other websites and don’t use copy that is on other websites even if you have permission.
  • Include all links to your social media sites you update frequently.  If you don’t update them often then leave them off.  Better yet update them often.
  • Make sure your navigation is logical and place the most important links first.  Sorry, the about the company link is not the most important.
  • Keep your design consistent.  Keep the logo in the same place on every page.  You never know which page someone is coming in on. If you have a cryptic logo make sure you use a tag line that is descriptive.
  • Use contrasting color.  The best is white pages with black text.  Use red but very sparingly to make things stand out.
  • Have a free download or report that your prospects can download.  You can make it so they can only download it if they give you’re their email address.  Or if you don’t want to take an email make sure it is heavily branded.
  • A/B Split test your home page often.
  • Create the website for your customers NOT for you.
  • Create a blog and blog often.

There are many more things you can do to increase sales.  If you need help just give us a call.

732-818-0080 x 102 or click here to contact us via email.

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Are you using Loss Leaders in your business to increase your cash flow?

lossleadersolutionIf you are in business you have probably heard of Loss Leaders. Simply, a loss leader is a product or service sold below its market price in an effort to gain a customer. Every company needs to have a loss leader if that company has a lifetime value attached to its customers. In other words if your customer who purchases from you once will buy more from you over time then you should absolutely use this technique to get customers to try you out. Many companies forget about this simple technique. Especially service companies. Keep in mind that marketing to existing customers is cheaper than trying to get new ones.

By the way if you don’t think this technique works, for those of you old enough to remember, may I remind you of Columbia House Record Club? Get 50 records or tapes for one cent… Or what about an inkjet printer. One hundred dollars for the printer and forty dollars for each ink cartridge.

How does it work?

When a customer purchases the “Loss leader” (or any item or service you sell) you must do everything humanly possible to get their information. Name, phone, snail mail and email address. (Over 18 only) Once they are in your “Marketing System” you will then market to them other products that COMPLEMENT THEIR ORIGINAL PURCHASE. Within your marketing you will let them know of other items and or services that are not related BUT THIS IS NOT THE MAIN THRUST OF THE COMMUNICATION. You want to heavily promote to your customers things they already like to buy….first.

And the answer to those who don’t have complementary products and services to sell to their customers.
GET SOME NOW!

A “Marketing System” sounds complicated but it’s so easy you would be surprised. There are many online and offline tools to accomplish this important activity. There are email companies that you can attach to a shopping cart purchase. There are list building appliances to add to your website. All with auto response capabilities. You can also implement internal non-digital procedures as well. The point is YOU MUST DO SOMETHING. There is probably a competitor that is doing this.

Here are some ideas:

Example A

Product A is one in which an “add on” or “upsell” Product B will add value to the original purchase of Product A.

If you are a photographer you could give a social media headshot for a low price and then offer the customer a package plan of photography that they could use in print, etc. This “add on” is not discounted. In addition, it’s not over priced to make up for your Loss Leader either. That would be unethical and will come back to haunt you later.

Example B

If you’re an Attorney your Loss leader could be an individuals will. They come in, you do their will and you get them into your marketing system.

Example C

You are a transportation company you offer customers a round trip ticket for the price of a one way.

Example D

You are a Dentist and you give your Patients a free cleaning or examination.

For those in retail with a store, place the loss leader towards the back of the store. This forces customers to walk through the store and maybe be interested in buying something in addition. (This is the goal.)

You cannot bring in someone to your business for an item that is advertised and then switch them to another item because this one is “Not in stock” or “unavailable” this is called bait and switch and is illegal. I’m not an attorney so consult with one.

So in a nut shell.

1) Get them in.

2) Make them a happy customer.

3) Get their contact data.

4) Re-market to get them back.

Rinse and repeat.

Do you need help? Call 732-818-0080 x 102

As always your comments are appreciated.

If you enjoyed this article please share it with others.

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Reputation Management Considerations

How’s your reputation?

According to Wikipedia

Reputation management is the understanding or influencing of an individual’s or business’s reputation. It was originally coined as a public relations term, but advancement in computing, the internet and social media made it primarily an issue of search results. Although it is often associated with ethical grey areas, such as astroturfing (the practice of masking the sponsors of a message (e.g. political, advertising, or public relations) to give the appearance of it coming from a disinterested, grassroots participant) review sites, censoring negative complaints or using SEO tactics to game the system and influence results, there are also ethical forms of reputation management, such as responding to customer complaints, asking sites to take down incorrect information and using online feedback to influence product development.

But what does that mean for you and or your company?

It simply means that you should monitor what the people on the web are saying about your company good or bad. When you know what’s good about your company through reviews it might be surprising to you. You might have thought your customers liked you for a totally different reason then they are actually commenting on in the reviews. If you do find this is the case it would be a great time to re-evaluate your USP (Unique Selling Proposition)

Of course you might also find out things about your company and its staff that are troubling as well. If you are a popular business you should expect that once in a while you will have a dissatisfied customer. If that customer went to the trouble of placing a bad review you better know about it and address it immediately. Don’t forget that once you have addressed the bad review to the satisfaction of the customer you ask them to please update their review. If it was resolved amicably they will usually accommodate your request.

When you receive a bad review the first thing to do is DON’T PANIC! Take a deep breath and re-read it carefully from the customers point of view. Are they right? Did you or your staff do something wrong? If so OWN UP TO IT AND MAKE IT RIGHT. If the problem is fixable address it and make it right on-line. DO NOT HAVE AN ONLINE WAR WITH THE CUSTOMER. DO NOT BLAME THE CUSTOMER. DON’T THROW ANYONE UNDER THE BUS. TAKE OWNERSHIP AND THEN BE EMPATHETIC, ADDRESS AND FIX THE PROBLEM IMMEDIATELY IF POSSIBLE.

If you care about your reputation you will feel the stress of the situation and might look for drastic measures restrain from doing the wrong thing like going in there and writing your own reviews to push that one down the page. Most of the people that use reviews to decide if they want to do business with a company can see through that tactic. In addition, never hire a company that will post fake reviews for your company. The best strategy that I have found is to ask actual happy customers to review your company on-line. Do not compensate them for the review as this would be unethical. Just give them great service. Make them a happy customer. When you receive a good review you should thank your customer publically.

There are many ways to monitor you and your company’s reputation. You can hire a company or you can do it yourself. I recommend trying it yourself first. If it becomes overwhelming then think about hiring a company to do it for you.

Here are some great F R E E tools (not an exhaustive list) to help you monitor your reputation (Some might require an account):

Google Alerts: www.google.com/alerts
Yahoo Alerts: http://alerts.yahoo.com/
Bing Alerts: http://www.bing.com/webmaster/help/how-to-set-email-alert-preferences-c73a478c
You can set up alerts with your company name, employee’s names, competitor’s names, etc. and get a daily email if any results are found on the web.

Technoratihttp://technorati.com/
Search thousands of published blogs for posts.

SocialMention: http://www.socialmention.com/
Real-time social media search and analysis.

Whos Talkin: http://www.whostalkin.com/
Similar to SocialMention

Any major search engine.
Search for your company name to see what people are saying about you and what websites you and your company are on.

Let me know if you need any help. As always your comments are appreciated.

Please share the love below.

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Combining Traditional and Digital Marketing

Maybe it’s an inescapable trait of human beings to throw out the old in favor of the new. Cassettes replaced vinyl records, CDs replaced cassettes, and MP3s have largely replaced CDs. But was that really a linear path forward? If so, why do so many vinyl enthusiasts claim that we’ve never had that kind of audio quality since? People want the newest thing, but new doesn’t always mean better. The same dichotomy can be found in the present rush towards digital marketing.

Make no mistake about it, digital marketing is powerful. Your company should be taking advantage of tactics such as email campaigns, a strong social media presence, SEO, and perhaps even PPC advertising. But if you’re ignoring tried and true traditional marketing techniques such as direct mail, phone sales, and old media advertising, you could be making a big mistake. Thankfully, this is a choice you don’t have to make. The wise entrepreneur spreads his marketing budget over a wide swath of available approaches and will only eschew those campaigns that have failed already.

Combining Approaches

A multi-tiered marketing campaign can be an effective one. Online campaigns can be made more productive by augmenting them with TV campaigns and vice versa. This type of integration can be something as simple as advertising your Facebook page in a TV commercial or running ads for an online contest in the local newspaper. Has there been a general migration towards the Internet and away from traditional media? Of course. But that doesn’t mean old media has been left to rot, contrary to what many young up-and-comers believe.

4 Steps to Successful Integration

  1. Always use a powerful Call-to-Action. No advertising campaign—whether in the pages of a magazine or on the front page of Google—will succeed without this.
  2. Create a visual connection. Branding is important in business, but it becomes even more essential when combining new and old media strategies.
  3. Drive old media customers online. Plaster your traditional media campaign with Web addresses, QR codes, and other incentives to look you up online.
  4. Use custom landing pages for testing. By using individualized landing pages, you can easily test your marketing campaigns and ensure that you aren’t throwing good money after bad.

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Is Every Door Direct Mail really cheaper?

The problem with every door direct mail from the US Postal service is that you are still gambling. Every Door Direct mail is still mass marketing NOT hyper target marketing. (Even if it might look this way.) Let’s say you are a plumber and you want to target a specific postal route because through a site evaluation you have determined the people living in houses in this area are your market. The truth is that this is gambling and will ultimately cost you more money.

What if in a community of homes of 300 only 100 are actually the customers you want to call you? Should you spend the extra money just in case? NO. Wouldn’t it be better to know exactly who is living there? If they are still in the home? And the biggest question ARE THEY THE BEST PROSPECTS? YES!

Did you know that some pre-sorted first class direct mail runs about .30 – .40 per piece? That’s not 0.16 but there would be much less waste as you would be hitting only the qualified prospects.

Now this is just for companies targeting Consumers NOT businesses. It’s worse if you are B2B as Every Door Direct Mail does not give you an option to mail JUST to businesses. You have to choose Business and Residential. And that for sure is going to cost you money.

Ask yourself these questions.

Who is my customer?

What is the message I want to present to them?

Where do they live?

How do I get my message to them?

What media should I use?

Give us a call and we will answer all of these questions and more.

As always your comments are welcomed and appreciated.

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Don’t rely on social media to build your companies word of mouth.

Everyone thinks that word of mouth is the best form of advertising. In fact, many companies have made money solely via word of mouth referrals. However, putting all of ones eggs in the word of mouth basket is not wise.

In business you need to make sure that you are constantly exposing new customers to your business on a consistent basis. You do this by implementing the proper marketing techniques in the right, targeted, advertising mediums. When you combine these efforts to generate new business with strategic programs designed to grow word of mouth revenue you will not suffer as many lows in your revenue stream and will enjoy a steadier cash flow.

If you think Social Media is the best answer think again.

It is important to increase your social media efforts to keep your brand and message in front of your targeted market however a New Jersey based research firm the Keller Fay Group, surveyed over 32,000 participants and found that 91 percent of respondents’ information about brands came as a result of in person conversations or over the phone.

BUT only seven percent of word-of-mouth conversations about brands occur online.

I know you thought it was more. Everyone does. But think about it. In your Facebook or twitter stream how many of your friends actually say “go check out this company they’re great!”? Not many. How many times do you do it yourself? Once a month maybe? So in reality a small 7 percent are learning about your company on social media. But that is something to grow on.

So what can you do online to create some buzz?

Make sure you do things on-line that allows people to take the conversation off-line. (And make sure everyone in your company is in the customer retention business.) You could create an interesting video and place it on YouTube. You could create a survey that can be shared on-line and discussed off-line. Make interesting images that can be printed with your product in use. Whatever you come up with the most important part is to make sure that people with influence see your efforts.

As always your comments are welcome and appreciated.

 

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How to Market To Business Owners?

Are you a company that sells B to B (Business to Business)? Looking for marketing advice on how to market to business owners?  The tips below will show you how to market to business owners.

Make sure before you implement any techniques, when marketing to business owners, you have a fantastic website that will convert prospects into customers! All marketing techniques and strategies should incorporate your website address.

When marketing to business owners try some of these suggestions.

Here are some tips for How to market To Business Owners?

Create a Professional Company Brand

Did you know that people will remember a branded company approximately 20% more then one that is not branded? That percentage should not be overlooked. Your company needs a corporate brand which would include a professional logo, correct color choices, branded image elements, etc. This brand trickles down to every marketing piece your produce from your business cards to your website.

Get a Professionally Designed Company Website

All of your marketing and advertising is supported by your website. In today’s economy not having a website is like not having a business card. Many people look for your company on line to research you before they decide to do business with you. Your website should include everything required to make a sale. From contact forms to call to action buttons, videos, webinars, free reports, email sign ups and more.

Search Engine Pay Per Click (PPC)

Once you have a GREAT website sign up for Google AdWords and create online advertising triggered by keywords that point to your website. All the large search engines have PPC opportunities.

Direct Mail

Think of it. All those mail persons out there becoming your sales force! With a properly designed mailing piece directed to a target market you can get the attention of your prospects. You can use postcards or letters or product samples, etc. If you are using letters a great technique is to hand address them to ensure they get opened. When was the last time you threw out a hand addressed letter? Keep in mind that any direct mail campaign must be tested and done frequently. If you are going to do it only once then you are probably wasting your time. An average undeliverable rate is 10 – 12 percent.

Direct Email

Just like direct mail you can secure opt-in emails via a list broker. The great thing about email marketing is you can track how many people opened the email, if and where they clicked through to your website and if was actually delivered, etc. Then you could produce reports and resend emails to those who opened or clicked through. Email marketing is great for reconnaissance and follow up.

Cold Calling (Telephone)

After you have implemented a direct mail campaign call the business owners on the list and ask then if they are interested in the information you provided and set up appointments with them. If this is your first time doing this record your voice (not the callers) so you can go back and tweak your pitch.

Cold Calling (Foot Work)

When you are on an appointment check your list and see if any of your prospects are near by. If they are stop in and say hello. Make sure you have information to leave with them.

Join Networking Groups

Networking is a great way to get in front of business owners. The best way to utilize them is to make sure you go to every event. Networking is just like advertising the more you do the more likely they are to remember you. Have plenty of professional business cards on hand. One technique is to actually tell your fellow networkers that you pay for leads that close.

Friends and Family

You would be surprised to know that many of your friends and family members are wither business owners or know people that are business owners. Ask them to introduce you.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a great place to find business owners. Start by developing your network and see where who they lead you to.

These are just some of the many ways to market to business owners. If you would like to know more ways on how to market to business owners just contact us at 732-818-0080 and we will go over all of the possibilities and advanced strategies designed to get your cash register ringing!

 

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Choose the right keywords for your Search Engine Optimization

Here is a quick Search Engine Optimization tip.

When you are looking to tweak your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on your blog posts and web pages one major thing to remember is to make sure you are actually using search terms that your CUSTOMERS would use to find answers. Also, only use COMMON industry terminology that your customers might have been exposed to in a competitors pitch.

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Does your company use Social Proof in its marketing?

From Wikipedia

Social proof, also known as informational social influence, is a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation. This effect is prominent in ambiguous social situations where people are unable to determine the appropriate mode of behavior, and is driven by the assumption that surrounding people possess more knowledge about the situation.

You can use Social Proof in your marketing.

When you’re advertising your goods and services it’s important to use Social Proof in your copy and images. A quick easy way to accomplish this is to use testimonials throughout your copy as well as video testimonials on your website. When prospects are close to a decision they will look to others to help them decide if buying from you is the right choice.

Also, if you are trying to sell a certain product and have successfully sold it too many others let everyone know by saying “Hundreds of Housewives have purchased…” (Notice I used a specific group “Housewives” if your main customer base is “Couples” use “Couples”. Etc.) Think of it as a way to push them off the fence and into your yard.

You can also use Social Proof in imagery in your marketing. By knowing your best customers you can incorporate people that fit the same visual profile. Social Proof is also very helpful when you are using social media to promote your company. Encouraging people to “like” an image of your product or statement and then following up with those people will help your bottom line but you must be fast. Be careful not to do too much Sales Bitching (thanks Starr Hall) in your social media.

So you don’t think it will work?

Everyday you are exposed to Social Proof. For example when is the last time you watched a TV show with canned laugh track and found yourself laughing a bit too hard for something that wasn’t that funny? You can try a Social experiment. Go to the mall, stand on the side and look up. Have someone off to the side record how many people in 5 minutes that also look up. Then do the same thing with five of your friends, all looking up. You will notice that now you have everyone looking up that passes your group by, you might even draw a crowd.

Let me know how you use Social Proof in your marketing.

There are many other ways to use Social Proof in your marketing. If you would like to talk about how Social Proof can help your business give me a call at 732- 818- 0080. We have helped hundreds of businesses and we can help you too.

As always your comments are appreciated and welcomed.

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Building an email list is easy for any retailer if you do it right and offer a strong incentive.

Have you recently been at a retailers check out when the clerk asks you to give your email address but does not tell you why they want it or what you can get if you give it?  Because of this not many give it. This happens to me 99% of the time.  Now that’s a terrible percentage for the retailers as it proves that their employees are not trained sufficiently and are not supervised with penalty (yes, I said it). This can cost the retailer thousands of dollars in lost future revenue.

Here are some free tips to help you.

  • Collect emails from customers all year.
  • Have an employee tell people that are in the store to get ready to give their email address at checkout and how they will benefit from giving it.
  • Have a poster, or a hand out, with the reasons to give your email address.
  • Make sure you have a STRONG OFFER which will incentivize them to give their email to you.  (Tip: Give them a percentage off of the sale right away and another valuable offer that is sent to them at their email address for a future purchase.)
  • Tell them you will keep their email private and will never sell their information. (Only if it’s true.)
  • Tell them that anytime they wish they can unsubscribe to future emails.
  • When collecting their email associate the email with the purchase in your database.  Then you sort and offer coupons for similar and up sell items in the follow up email.
  • If they will not give their email address, believe it or not they might not have one, ask them for their snail mail address so you can also send them the offers.
  • And the most important thing I only saw happen 10% of the time is to DON’T FORGET TO SAY THANK YOU!

Do you have any other ways you collect emails?

If you want to learn how to incorporate a system for doing this just contact us and we will be happy to discuss it with you at no charge.

As always thanks in advance for your comments.

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