Say it with me, Conversion

Recently, a friend and fellow marketing mind, Hubert Sawyers III, reminded me about the need for all messages to create action when he wrote this post on his blog Frying in Vein. Action is key for a business to garner responses that move the consumer down the sales funnel. This is perfect material for the Hand Raiser Marketing team. We love talking about inspiring consumers to engage further with businesses to increase sales; it’s the water to our gills. While marketers are not charged with ringing the cash register, they do need to convert consumers. It’s not easy but a necessary part of the marketing equation. So, say it me me, conversion.
Conversion can mean, getting an email, inspiring inquiry, inspiring a phone call or getting prospects to walk through the door of a business. Many tactics can be used to convert, but certainly one mantra that will always ring true is “make it easy.” A business will want to have contact information prominently placed on their website, where reader’s eyes will naturally flow. In general, a business will want to make sure they have ways to be contacted on every page; they will likely need to reduce clutter and be where their customers and prospects can find them. For instance, a destination business will need to have accurate information on Google Places, Yelp and rank high on search pages.  [Read more...]

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3 CRM Tricks to Build Loyalty

Statistics show it takes 60% more effort, money, time, et al to create a new customer. It’s like making a new friend. You have to figure out what you like to do together and whether or not they’ll be dependable. You have to put in some serious effort to let them know that you care. Meanwhile, your friendships that you’ve had a while continue to be of great value by  simply proving loyal on a regular basis.  Building a business is the same way. Here are some ways that you can utilize a friendship strategy with your customers.

Invite them over for special events

What better way to enjoy the company of your friends and inspire loyalty than to host them? When I say host, I mean provide something at your place that allows them to socialize and enjoy the fact that you’re all connected. Business people would say provide some added value. You never know what kind of value one can derive from a small investment, so invest in the people that support you! In only makes logical sense.

To do this, you’ll have to put processes in place that allow you to track who is regularly visiting and purchasing. Try opt-in email and mobile strategies like rewards programs. Give customers the option to sign up in-store or online. I like Place Pop as a mobile and web loyalty/rewards application program. It provide great flexibility and convenience for the business and the customer.

Offer suggestions that will be useful

Ever see something and immediately think of a friend that something would “be perfect for”? I love cigars, and recently had a friend send me a text message about Romeo y Julieta’s on sale at the JR Cigar near my job. I was so thankful, that I’m sure to hook him up with a “stick” when I see him next.

Since you’re capturing purchases, utilize that information to make suggestions or let all purchasers of a certain product know when it goes on sale. The loyalty that can be created by this simple act can be more valuable than waterproof boots in a snowstorm.

Ask Customer Opinion

People have always utilized their friends for advice – from love and relationships to companies and products. Why not leverage this bonding experience based upon the art of pontification, to make a friend out of your customers? Plus, who doesn’t  love to be on the inside? So, pull your customers in to the proverbial fold, or circle of trust if you will, by seeking advice about how to make their experience better. You might shock them into becoming extraordinarily loyal, and that’s all we want.

Adversarial relationships rarely work, so create some loyalty by forming friendly relationships with your best customers by using the help of a customer relationship management tool. Your customers will thank you, and so will your margins.



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IMC: Put Together

Like any good outfit (as John Witherspoon saying, “Cooo-rdinate” in ‘Boomerang’ leaps in my head) an Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) Campaign should be a coordinated effort to use the variant business communication tools to further one big message. Regardless of whether or not your brown belt is your favorite, you likely don’t want to wear it with your red shirt and black shoes. That is NOT put together.  There are some actions you can take to make sure that your IMC campaign is cohesive.

First, you have to establish a big idea. The big idea encapsulates your total message in a few simple words or phrases. You should be able to use this to start your elevator pitch, but it is not necessary to have it in your communications (it is not your slogan). For instance if I run a basketball team on the verge of greatness, my big idea could be “We will work harder than ever to win a championship.” A good logo to back that up might be, “Champions work harder.” The preceding works as a big idea because it is distinctive, relevant, unifying, memorable, and can be easily translated into sales – all of the necessary elements of an effective big idea.

In-game promos could include hard hats with the team logo & slogan with the word, “win” scribed on the back. This supports the big idea with the word win, and the slogan by applying the hard hat prop. The team website could be marked with construction tape, reading “Caution: Construction Area” in the team colors. Instead of having a stats page, it could be changed to a “Performance Evaluations” page. The ideas are nearly endless on the website.

Local television promos could show the guys in overalls carrying pick axes punching time clocks under the basket with the star of the team saying, “it’s time to go to work.” Then, a cut to a montage of the team running drills and dunking could ensue. Or, maybe a bunch of hustle plays with guys hitting the deck and scrapping for the ball might also work as an ending montage.

The sales people that year would sell “office badges” instead of tickets. Corporate ticket packages could be called “offsite meeting tickets.” Finally the pitch for all this might sound something like, “This year the (Basketball Team Here) plans to show you the benefit of hard work, and the product they’ll deliver this season will be our best effort yet. Don’t miss out on a great season that will be the result of aggressive work toward our championship goal. Which ticket package can I get you?”

The direct mail campaign might visually resemble an internal company memo that looks like a prospectus that shows the stock of the company (team) based off of the increased production of effort and the call to action would ask for a “stock purchase” through the advent of buying tickets. The direct email will match this message exactly, for increased cohesiveness.

The social campaign would be a great place to get engagement and connect the team to the fans by asking for submissions of people wearing their team gear at work. Maybe the coolest pic or video gets four free tickets. The blog might work as a daily journal of how much effort and sweat equity goes into training camp. The twitter stream would have to directly engage fans by conversing with them about team updates and the fans’ jobs/careers.

Finally the stadium (or service-scape) could have the road construction barrels in the team colors in the hallways, signs that reads “Team at work,” and the large concessions stand cups could look like coffee mugs.

Now, this team has a cohesive integrated marketing communications campaign that can be applied to any other form of communication they send out also. The difficulty is in matching the big idea to every message and medium. If you do you will have a consistent message that creates a feeling that is unmistakable in its affect regardless of medium, while naturally promoting engagement around that centerpiece – kind of like a cool shirt sets the tone for the rest of the outfit.

Now go be brilliant in the creation of your IMC campaigns!

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In the Ram Zone

The following is a blog that I wrote for R. L. Polk, an automotive and trucking industry market analysis and data company, that focuses on some of the things that I’ve been talking about recently. I plan to highlight good programs that deal with social media and permission marketing along high quality marketing communication. I enjoy being able to look at people doing it right and the people at Ram Trucks are definitely doing it right. I hope you enjoy…

Usually you hear of athletes being in the zone and they say phrases like, “the goal looked like an ocean,” and “the game seemed to slow down.” Well, ever since breaking away from Dodge and becoming their own brand, Ram Trucks has been in the zone – literally and figuratively. Their aptly named blog, “The Ram Zone” represents the engagement centerpiece of the Ram Trucks Integrated Marketing Communications strategy. This along with an excellent product will surely make for brand resonance with Ram owners, and a recognized personality that is unmistakably unique to Ram Trucks alone.  They are reaching people through a variety of digital channels, experiential events, in-store promotions and partnerships.  I’m pretty impressed with what the Ram people have accomplished in a few short months. The following is what I’ve noticed.

Social Media Marketing
The main piece, as I previously mentioned, is their blog The Ram Zone. Here you can keep up with all news Ram, while registering to join the community so you can comment about the stories and connect with other Ram owners. Additionally, there is a gallery with tons of immersive  pictorial content. Most important, the blog promotes a Ram Trucks lifestyle that is decidedly tough, hard-working and showing a love for the great outdoors.

There are also easy navigation buttons to the flickr page, and Facebook Fan page where there are nearly 21,000 fans of Ram Trucks. Many of these fans have uploaded pictures and descriptions of their Ram truck, which has created a strong community. They also have a twitter feed, but there doesn’t seem to be as much engagement here. It is just a barrage of event details and tweets containing pictures of those events. They also have their own YouTube channel, with videos of Rams doing some gnarly things.

Strategic Partnerships
When developing a new brand, it is often easier to introduce your position by attaching to a more established name and/or cause to create the desired emotive affect. That is what Ram Trucks has done with Letters for Lyrics and the Zac Brown Band. They’re attempting to get to 1,000,000 letters to soldiers in war zones, while offering some great concerts and music. Dealers benefit too, because the repositories for the letters are only at Ram Trucks locations.

As the website states, the promotion works like this:

  1. Write a letter to a soldier
  2. Take it to a Ram dealer
  3. Receive the free CD

Experiential Events
Finally, Ram Trucks is taking their Motor Trend Truck of the year all over the place to compete in sled pulls, do demonstrations for on-lookers or create viral videos of Rams doing outrageous stuff. Then, to bring it all home, they post the videos and pics up on their website, flickr, YouTube, Facebook, twitter feed, write blog posts and promote lively discussion in all those places.

No matter where they have shown up, Ram Trucks have promoted their slogan…which is either “Get Some Mud on Your Tires,” or “Nothing Works Harder than a Ram.” Either one works. What do you think of the new Ram Trucks brand? Have they captured your attention with their aggressive brand messaging

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Podcasting?

Recently, I was lucky enough to be able to speak about my views on “The Value Equation” for businesses in digital marketing. I had never done a podcast before, but found that I really enjoyed being a part of it. In the podcast, on Portage Digital Media, we discussed the changes on Facebook, matching messages to an emotional connection, and the pitfalls of the “freemium” model. Central to the conversation was, “why do people pay me money for what I’m doing”?

I don’t know if this will become a regular thing, but I hope people will check it out because there is some great value interspersed with fun and jokes. David Lingholm and Jeremiah Staes of Portage are some smart guys that get it, when it comes to making money and communicating value properly.

Please check it out and tell us what you think. I truly hope you enjoy. And as always, be brilliant.

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In the Beginning…

…marketers were able to control their message in all facets. As a business, you had 100% say over what messages about your brand were being received. Some (many) are still clinging to the idea that they can accomplish resonance via pushing messages out to consumers. Meanwhile, there are others out there that realize this is simply not possible. You can no more push messages and expect that to be a holistic view of what your receivers see, think or feel about your brand, than you can expect the telegraph to come back. Sorry, but the private business sector and general public have discovered the cell phone of marketing.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel though, so don’t despair! There are a multitude of ways to influence brand perception and still be effective at promoting your company. Let’s look at a couple of them. [Read more...]

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Too Much Email!

Too Much Email

Too Much EmailEveryday, I think I unsubscribe from at least two newsletters because they over-message me. I don’t know about you, but I peronsonally can’t stand for anyone to send me more than one communication per-day, unless I’ve written them back.

It feels like the times when someone leaves you a message and then calls you, again, before you get the chance to call them back. It is annoying and a little creepy. If you have so much information to send, please wait to send it all at once.  You’re filling up my inbox, and I can’t take it! I said that I would receive communications from you, not that I wanted to date. [Read more...]

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