Marketing: Tips for Successful Trade Shows
May 13th, 2011 1:48 PM
Trade shows can be a very effective marketing channel for your business since they attract potential customers who are interested in your type of product or service. Whether your trade show exhibit is a large pop-up system or a small table-top display, here are some simple tips to help you stand out and get noticed.
Marketing: Basics of Dataset Management - Removing Duplicate Records
March 25th, 2011 12:28 AM
The first rule of effective direct mail marketing is to have a clean dataset - a record of names, addresses and other contact information that is accurate. Often, we find datasets that have been compiled from multiple sources and have duplicate entries throughout the file. If the data is in a spreadsheet, like Microsoft Excel, simple sorting is sometimes enough to identify duplicate entries and remove them. But other times, like when the dataset is very large or the duplicates aren't obvious, it requires some advanced filtering techniques to clean up the dataset.
In this video from Tech Republic, Bill Detwiler shows you three advanced techniques for sorting through your spreadsheet data to identify and remove duplicates. If you have questions about how to compile your dataset for direct mail marketing, or if you need help sorting through the data you have, contact us and we'll help you "sort it out."
Marketing: Using Multi-Channel Marketing to Enhance Customer Relationships
February 25th, 2011 7:33 PM
Communicating with your customers is a critical component of a successful marketing plan. Communicating effectively, however, can be difficult if you don't utilize the channel(s) of communication your customers prefer. While some may be happy receiving emails about new products and services, others may prefer a postcard or brochure in the mail. Some may prefer searching your website or reading your Facebook page or Twitter feed. Still others are most comfortable with a phone call or personal visit. As your business grows, it can be increasingly difficult to recognize which channels of communication your customers prefer and in what context they prefer them.
One simple way to learn how your customers want to communicate is to simply ask them with a multi-touch, multi-channel campaign. The process is pretty straight forward:
There are many benefits of determining a customer's preferred channel.
Contact us to learn more about VisualHub and other ways you can use multi-channel marketing to improve your return on investment. While you're are it, let us know the channel you prefer as well.
Marketing: Simple Steps to Professional Marketing Literature
January 21st, 2011 3:40 PM
Professional sales and marketing literature has a direct impact on a customer's perception of your company, and a direct impact on whether they will do business with you. Specifically, reducing errors increases sales. There's a reason you learned spelling, punctuation and grammar in school instead of relying on a spell checker on your computer. Spell checkers, although very good at identifying egregious misspellings, are poor at detecting grammatical errors, repeated words and punctuation mistakes. Those are the mistakes that stand out more than any other content in your sales literature. Such errors make your business look unprofessional and drive customers to look for more professional companies.
Marketing: Preparing Your Website for QR Code Marketing
November 17th, 2010 11:23 AM
QR Codes are quickly becoming an important part of a digital marketing toolkit. But where are those QR codes taking your customers? The information you provide a mobile user is important, but so is the way you deliver the information. Traditional websites are not the optimum choice, but with some tweaks to your web design or a QR Code-specific landing page, your QR Code marketing can be very effective.
QR codes are two dimensional bar codes that are frequently used in print advertising or product packaging to provide mobile users with more information about a product or service. A consumer scans the code with their smartphone using QR code reader software (included on most smart phones and available for free via download) and is able to view videos, a mobile website or special offers and/or coupons on their phone.
By now most American consumers have seen a QR code. You may already be familiar with QR codes and how to use them. You may be one of the estimated 70 million American smartphone owners who regularly scan these codes with your phone to get product details or special offers on the go.
Whether you are putting QR codes on brochures, business cards or product manuals, its important provide users a source of information that is optimized for a mobile device. Here are some tips to prepare your website or other content for QR Code marketing:
Microsites or Landing Pages
Manufacturers of mobile devices market their ability to display full websites in a mobile browser. But with small screens and touch screen interfaces, these devices are better suited for optimized, mobile websites. Your microsite or landing page can be as simple as formatting the text and images on the page so that they are easily viewed on a mobile device. For example, use a larger font, bigger form fields for use with a touch interface and include email addresses and phone numbers so users can contact you directly from the phone. Optimize images so they load quickly over a 3G data connection.
Video is a great way to communicate information to mobile users. While Flash is the defacto standard for web video, most mobile devices cannot view video encoded in Flash. One exception is videos that are uploaded to YouTube. YouTube saves videos in multiple formats so that mobile users can view them as well. If you are not using YouTube to share videos, make sure the video you share via QR Code is formatted in mobile-friendly way. Here are some technical encoding details to give your video provider:
If you are going to share documents, presentations or other information for customers to download, make sure it's formatted for mobile devices. Not every mobile device can view Word or Powerpoint files, but they can all view PDF files. Convert your documents to PDF format and use the optimization tools in Acrobat, Preview or other PDF viewer to reduce the file size for online delivery. If you really want to make mobile users happy, reformat your documents so they are easily viewed on a small screen without having to zoom and scroll around the document.
No matter what you want to share as part of your QR code marketing, a little planning can ensure mobile users utilize, and appreciate, the information you provide. Contact us to learn more about QR code marketing and how to prepare your website for a QR Code campaign.
Marketing: The One Question Survey
October 30th, 2010 12:47 PM
Surveys are a great marketing tool. They enable you to gather key marketing information from your customers or prospects, learn the channels by which your customers wish to communicate and help you provide better service. I have blogged about the benefits of using a website to conduct surveys in the past, but how you conduct the survey is not nearly as important as the questions you ask.
Many organizations make the mistake of asking too many questions, thinking they have one chance to gather as much data as possible. No one wants to answer a hundred questions on a survey. Most people don't even want to answer 10. So what is the right number of questions to ask on a marketing survey?
That's right. One question is all you really need to ask. In the book, The Ultimate Question, Fred Reichheld presents the concept of a Net Promoter Score (NPS). NPS is quickly being adopted by organizations around the world to determine the quality of customer service and brand loyalty. The first step in determining your NPS is to ask a single survey question:
"How likely are you to refer our company/product/service to a friend or colleague?"
That really is the ultimate question, isn't it? For marketers, it succinctly captures all the other data you could possibly need to determine the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and the quality of your customer service.
Consider asking this question in a simple online survey posted on your website. Mail a postcard to your customers with this question or include it on your next e-mail newsletter. Whatever communication channel your customers prefer, make sure to ask them this question.
To learn more about NPS and how to determine your Net Promoter Score based on the answers you get to the one question marketing survey, I highly recommend Fred Reichheld's book. Not much of a reader? Email me and I will walk you through it.
Marketing: Don't Get Out-Channeled
October 25th, 2010 8:00 AM
According to Marketing thought leader Barbara Pellow, the average marketer uses three channels to reach his or her customer. Pellow says the typical channels are print, social and websites, but can also include a mixture of radio, television, direct mail, seminars or outdoor advertising.
The point is, if the average marketer is using an average of three channels and you are only using one, you are getting out-channeled and could find yourself losing customers to a competitor.
Marketing: Five QR Code Marketing Ideas
October 20th, 2010 7:09 PM
What are Quick Response (QR) Codes? QR codes are two dimensional bar codes that are frequently used in print advertising or product packaging to provide mobile users with more information about a product or service. A consumer scans the code with their smartphone using QR code reader software (included on most smart phones and available for free via download) and is able to view videos, a mobile website or special offers and/or coupons on their phone.
By now most American consumers have seen a QR code. You may already be familiar with QR codes and how to use them. You may be one of the estimated 70 million American smartphone owners who regularly scan these codes with your phone to get product details or special offers on the go. But are you including QR codes in your own marketing strategy? If not, here are five ideas to use QR codes effectively.
No matter how you utilize QR codes, make sure the information you provide is congruent to the mobile platform. Microsites or landing pages should utilize large text and form fields that are easy to navigate on touch screens. Include phone numbers and email addresses so that users can easily contact you directly from their phones. Most importantly, acknowledge the customers and prospects who utilize these QR codes as people who prefer to consume information on the go and utilize the mobile marketing channels to communicate with them whenever possible.
Marketing: Direct Mail Marketing - What's in Your Customer's Mailstream?
September 3rd, 2010 8:36 AM
Before your direct mail creative can stand out, you have to know what it has to stand out from.
This excellent infographic from Deliver Magazine depicts the contents of your prospectís mailstream.
Marketing: Study: Mail, Newspapers Favored Over Social Media
September 2nd, 2010 3:05 PM
Multi-channel marketing relies on using as many channels as possible to reach every segment of your audience. If you've been depending more and more on social media as a primary marketing channel, don't throw away your stamps or the phone number of your local printer just yet. A study released by ICOM, a division of Epsilon Targeting, suggests that 18-34 year olds in the United States and Canada prefer, and trust, offline marketing over social media. In a press release Epsilon stated North American consumers in the 18-34 year-old demographic prefer to learn about marketing offers via postal mail and newspapers rather than online sources such as social media platforms.
The study also suggests the trust pendulum is swinging in the direction of mail for respondents in all age brackets:<
Other key findings from ICOM’s survey about channel preferences include the following:
“A key takeaway from this research is that marketers targeting coveted 18-34 year olds who are tempted to invest solely in social media could be missing a significant portion of their audience,” said ICOM Vice President Warren Storey.