Community Involvement Equals More Business – A real Win/Win!

In today’s tough economy small businesses need to be creative in generating new clients.  Here’s a thought – give back to your community!  By getting involved in your community through non-profits, your local chamber or government; you would be getting word out about your company and products while helping your own community.

Whether you choose to sponsor, participate in or organize an event, you are generating positive word of mouth.  You are generating goodwill within the organization you are helping. Positive word of mouth and goodwill leads people to begin to know, like and trust you and your company – the cornerstones of any referral growth strategy.

Within any non-profit, you are exposed to and can network with people who work, own a home, own a business, have children, have friends, etc., making them likely customers too!

Most community organizations also have an online presence – and are constantly looking for good, local content. Offer to write an article for their web site or newsletter to inform their subscribers about something you are an expert in.  Remember you are writing to inform not sell, however, this is a subtle way of selling your abilities and you company.  Some examples:

  • If you are an accountant, write information on new tax laws or changes on filing tax returns.
  • If you provide pool cleaning services, write about the different ways to keep a healthy and clean pool.
  • If you offer marketing services, write about how different marketing venues work together.
  • If you are a florist, write about planning a wedding.

As a small business owner, you know you need to “advertise” to let people know you exist, but some of the traditional ways of advertising can be cost prohibitive.  Getting involved in your community only costs you your time, generates good will, positive word of mouth and best of all, it will make you feel good too!

Get started today by researching your community organizations, area non-profits and causes you are passionate about. If possible, get your employees involved as well. The more the merrier! And your company will get the more visible impact from the larger presence.

Four Simple Steps to Convert Customers into Advocates

Turning satisfied customers into advocates of your services, products or brands is a very powerful marketing tool.  Every day, the influence of Social Media in purchasing decisions grows exponentially!

Your customers wield tremendous influence over their FaceBook Friends, Twitter Followers, LinkedIn Connections etc. So, how do you turn your customers into your own army of brand evangelists?

Try the old Social Media Four Step!

Step One:

Do Great Work! Always strive to exceed expectations. A delighted customer will happily tout your business to others. They’ll take great pride in having found such a great company to deal with. They will even make your company part of their own identity. Ever see that Apple logo sticker in the back window of a car (or VW Bus!)?  

Step Two:

Engage The Customer! Actively get your customers involved in your product or services. These are the folks you want advocating for you so you better be sure you’re all on the same page! Ask for their opinions about, and recommendations for, improvement to their experience with your company. By engaging your customers in the process, they will feel even more invested in you, and therefore become more willing advocates.

Step Three:

K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple, Silly! Make it really easy for customers to advocate on your behalf. Provide several simple resources to talk about your company.  Have a strong social media plan in place with several outlets for your customers to talk about you.  Invite them to “like” you on Facebook and write a recommendation or testimonial.

Step Four:

Ask! Let your happy, delighted customers know that you would greatly appreciate their help in spreading the word about their wonderful experience with your company. Invite them to join your LinkedIn contacts and recommend your services. Have them follow you on Twitter, comment on your blog, Pin you to their Pinterest board – whatever! By developing your company’s social media strategy you’re creating a platform for your advocates to some advocating.  Where is your company on the social media spectrum?

Step Four and a Half:

Don’t forget to set up your mostly free accounts up in business directories; i.e. Alexa, Citysearch, Merchant Circle, Yelp, etc.  These directories allow you to put in your company background information, contact information and keyword tags for search engines. Once you’re listed on these directories your brand evangelists have yet another place to can tell the world how wonderful you are!

 


Rev Up Your Direct Marketing Campaigns With QR Codes!

Quick Response Codes or QR Codes consist of a pattern of black squares arranged on a white background.  Pick up any item at your grocery store (or anywhere else for that matter!) and you’re likely to find a QR code. In stores the code brings up price, description, shelf location, etc with one swipe of the code scanner – for a streamlined and accurate checkout process.

For marketing, this super-barcode is used quite effectively to take a prospect from a printed mail piece in their mailbox into the digital domain.

QR Codes offer the all-important element in marketing known as ENGAGEMENT.

By including QR codes on your direct mailer you’re offering an easy, interactive channel to begin a dialog. Once a prospect scans the QR Code with their Smart Phone they are whisked away to the digital side of your company. Maybe it’s to a specific webpage on your site or to your latest online video OR they may land on a page that greets them by name (Howdy Fred!)

And here’s where the fun starts!

Because the QR code can contain UNIQUE information about everyone on your prospect list, not only are they greeted by their name, information they may otherwise need to type in (address, city, state, zip code etc.) is pre-populated – again to streamline the engagement process for the prospect. PLUS (and this is a big plus) you can track results of your campaign TO THE PERSON! This allows for highly effective follow up activities such as triggered emails, special offers etc. that turn interested prospects into customers!

How can you effectively use QR codes in your direct marketing efforts? 

The possibilities are endless – and surprisingly inexpensive to implement.

QR code marketing campaigns provide you, the marketer, precise measurements of a campaign’s effectiveness and an immediate, simple call to action.  QR Codes offer a logical link between your direct mail marketing and your online presence. But most importantly, they Engage The Customer!

Direct Etc. will work with you to develop a direct mail campaign that effectively blends all your marketing efforts.  Contact us today for more information.