Loathing coupons

I do, I really loathe coupons and for good reason. Very few businesses have ever helped themselves using them. And until only recently has an entire industries (read pizza delivery) been held hostage by them.

The reason is that a coupon will bring you customers who:   Continue reading

Would you know if your customers were being ignored?

Quick, show of hands, how many of you would be comfortable leaving your store unattended while you were out making deliveries? No one? Hmmm… interesting, because that’s pretty much the equivalent of what so many companies are doing right now.

A very interesting article gave the following real world example (I’ve seen this happen time and time again):

John [customer] is irritated because he dialed in to a customer support department and was put on hold for 30 minutes. No one ever answered his call. He goes to the brand’s Facebook page and leaves a comment expressing his anger. No response. He then tweets at the brand’s Twitter profile. No response. So he writes a blog post criticizing the heck out of the brand and shares it all over the social Web. Still no response.

This situation really resonated with me since it is one of the very dangerous scenarios we protect our clients from with Whatcom Marketing’s Social Media Management services. We monitor for online comments, both praise and criticisms, and respond to ensure the customers’ needs are recognized and depending on our clients’ instructions, handle the issue (“We are so sorry to hear of your experience. Your account has been refunded.”) or assure the customer that they’ve been heard and a response is forthcoming (“We are so sorry to hear of your experience. We’re going to have someone in charge contact you right away.”).

Are you leaving your store unattended and customers ignored? Locking them out isn’t an option. Call us today.

 

Whatcom Marketing Eliminates Social Media Barriers for Small Businesses

Ferndale, WA – September 19, 2011

Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter provide small businesses a very cost-effective way to attract new customers and build their referral business. But it is something they are often not able to take advantage of due to time and expertise constraints. This is why Whatcom Marketing has launched a number of social media management services that enable small business owners to enjoy the benefits of a solid social media strategy without the significant time investment and risk of embarrassing themselves by working without a plan or strategy.

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The most powerful marketing tool

Now that companies are able to quickly and widely communicate with their markets through a multitude of inexpensive channels, would you be surprised to learn most still fail to use the most powerful marketing weapon in their arsenal?

It’s sitting there, ready to be deployed and doesn’t cost anything. Most know of it, use it in casual conversation but when it comes to promoting products and services they fail to reach for it.

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Fear of Social Media

You’ve read for years now that your company should be engaging in social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) and “participating in the conversation.” But that means sometimes encountering someone who will call you names while saying your service sucks and your policies are so bad that your business should be boycotted. Who would want that, right?

Having to participate in conversations where you or staff represent your company and everyone else can be anonymous is an unfair playing field. You want to be positive and professional while they can call you names and make baseless accusations. Run, run away fast, seems to be the best advice. Continue reading

Avoiding brand plastic surgery

I just visited the web site of a decades-old marketing agency. I was excited to learn about their offerings and who their staff were. They were located in the Northwest so I thought it would be worthwhile to tuck away their contact information for future reference. But then I saw it. It made me twitch. It made me realize that I’d most likely never want to ask this company to assist a client.

What threw me for a loop was, right there in the first sentence of site copy, their claim to Continue reading

Putting your shoes on before your pants

Do you put your shoes on before your pants? No, of course not. Things get a lot more difficult if you did, right? So why do you, mister and missus business professional, always insist on creating logos, graphics, signs, web sites, emails, and other business / product identifiers before you know who your target market is, what your best offer to them is and how best to reach them?

Committing to visual and messaging elements of your company’s marketing before understanding your market is much like putting your shoes on before your pants (or “handing a blind man a gun” or “the tail wagging the dog” if you love metaphors). You may be able to ultimately get your pants on but you’ll struggle, work really, really hard and look silly doing it.

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Learn sales and marketing from one of the best – a cab driver

Chris Brogan is a great resource of free flowing discoveries of what works, what doesn’t and new discoveries in business development and marketing. He just put up a quick post about how “his” cab driver (read the post to understand why I placed quotation marks around “his”) demonstrated incredible business intelligence, teaching “me more about business than most business books.”

I’ve ridden in dozen of cabs and only once, in Las Vegas, did a driver engage me as to my need for rides in the immediate future. And, like Chris, I too took advantage of the opportunity to call “my” cab.

Ask for the sale people. It’s right there if you’ll only ask.

 

How to stand out in the advertising crowd

What the hell is that?

It’s the greatest source of frustration for business owners. You pay a pile of money, provide a great valuable offer and you get little to no response from your advertising. Is it the advertising venue’s fault? Is it the wrong time to do this? Is it that you didn’t spend enough money?

It’s probably because your advertising did not stand out enough to be recognized as relevant to your target market. In short, while they may have seen it, they didn’t SEE it.

Here are several ways to increase the visibility of your advertising, signage, street presence, online visibility, etc. in order of general effectiveness: Continue reading

Paying to be Misled

Below is a great video. The most meaningful message (to me anyways) for advertisers may slip by if you’re not paying attention.

Did you hear it? “The agency said …” So many advertisers get their egos built up by agencies to the point where they feel so omnipotent they are willing to ignore the obvious.

When someone selling you advertising and/or a strategy says, “This is the right way to do it,” ask for a means to measure just how “right” it is. Without a means to measure, you can never improve.