Every day we see how a coupon strategy can help businesses grow, but some business owners are unsure about, or even wary of using coupons in their own marketing. Coupons may not have a place in everyone’s marketing strategy, but more often than not, their reasons are derived from preconceived notions of what coupons mean to them or their customer. We have created a list of the most common misconceptions about coupons in marketing and corrected them with the facts in order to help you formulate an effective coupon strategy.
1. Coupons Undervalue My Customers
Making sure customers are being properly valued is a valid concern. You know that a fully engaged customer is not only more profitable than an indifferent customer but also an advocate for your brand. You may worry that implementing a coupon strategy will alienate fully engaged customers, either by sending the message that you are more focused on attracting new customers than rewarding brand loyalty or by giving the impression that your business is not doing well.
However, this could not be further from the truth. A well-considered coupon strategy can lead to indifferent customers becoming fully engaged by making your company stand out. It can also be part of a marketing strategy that shows its appreciation for its existing loyal customer base by granting them access to superior deals. Rather than push any type of customer away, coupons can offer a method to increase profitability and advocacy from all types of customers.
2. My Customer Base is Too Upscale for Coupons
Everyone likes a good deal. It’s important to know there are many types of coupons, and those biases you may expect from your customers are perceptions largely built on the presentation and content of the offer. With an intelligent strategy, coupon style initiatives can enrich the experience customers have of the most upscale products and services.
3. Coupon Holders Are Not Loyal
You may think that people who use coupons are not loyal customers. The thought being that they only care about the cheapest deal, so they will try many brands once and return to few. The truth is that this type of customer is only one of many who use coupons for services they want, and even if a customer really does do business with your company only once, they are not hurting your business. According to the 80/20 rule, or also known as the Pareto Principle, suggests that 80% of events, in this case sales, result from 20% of the causes, in this case customers. Whether those vital 20% are new or repeat customers depends on your business and the products or services you offer, but you can tailor a coupon strategy to work for either. If your most profitable 20% are loyal regulars, you can tie your coupon strategy to a loyalty program. If you are attempting to draw in new customers, there are many online avenues with established customer bases that can help you get your name out there by featuring an offer from your business.
4. It’s Confusing for Our Employees to Redeem Them
Any dedicated business owner knows that investing in a well-trained, knowledgeable staff is essential and beneficial for the long-term success of the business. However, a large investment of resources is no longer required to quickly and efficiently implement coupon initiatives. There are a multitude of platforms that can make redeeming a coupon as simple as typing in a short series of characters, scanning a barcode, or taking a picture with a smartphone. These are simple techniques that are easily learned and will allow your employees to be seen contributing to the positive experiences of your customers. That makes them look good, which makes you look good.
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Thinking outside the box will help you create a personal and effective coupon strategy. You don’t have to give something away for free. Talk to someone who specializes in creating high-demand offers about how they can help you to drive revenue with the offer that best fits your business and clientele.
Having a strong presence on social media is a great way for a business to connect with their customer base. But managing one or more social media accounts – and doing it well – can be a time consuming task that some small business owners struggle to schedule in their busy day. That’s why we’ve put together this list of ten time saving tips for managing social media.
1. Create a Content Calendar
Planning out the content you will post for a week or month in advance will not just save you time in the long run, it will help you avoid the perils of impulsive social media posting. Setting aside a day or two to write up future content is a lot like cooking your meals and freezing them. You save time, energy, and eat less fast food (post better content).
2. Use Social Media Management Tools
Using a third party dashboard like Hootsuite lets you take your pre-created content and schedule when it gets posted, in addition to providing a host of other valuable tools and analytics to help you better engage with your audience.
3. Select Social Media Sites for Your Business
You don’t need to be on every platform under the sun, just the ones that will best expose you to your customer base. Managing content across multiple accounts is time consuming, so figure out which sites will work best for your business.
4. Limit Multiple Accounts
Don’t overreach. It’s always better to have an extremely engaging presence on just one network, than to be posting watered down content across five or six. If you can’t do a great job across the board, limit the accounts you are managing until you can.
5. Share Others’ Content
If you aren’t already sharing content from other users, you should be. Sharing creates more exposure for your brand, and lets you engage better with your network. As an added bonus, sharing content saves you time on creating and posting your own original content.
6. Only Share Relevant and Helpful Content
Only about 20% of the content you post on social media should be overtly self-promotional. The rest should be entertaining or educational in nature. Remember, people don’t use social media to be sold to, and an advertisement heavy account is going to feel like spam to most. Focus on the quality of your content over the quantity of it. One great post can be shared again and again, gaining you more exposure than any ad could. 10 bad posts become easily filtered out background noise.
7. Designate Time for Social Media
Set aside time each week to manage your social media account. In addition to planning out the following week’s content, take some time to do things like replying to comments, and “liking” posts, if appropriate. Having a set block to focus on the smaller parts of social media engagement will keep it from being a daily drain on your time.
8. Hire a Social Media Manager
If you don’t think you have the time to properly manage your company’s social media, delegate the task to someone who can. Hiring a social media manager to periodically schedule content and manage your networks means you can focus on more pressing areas of your business.
9. Repost Content
Pay attention to what content performs well, and what doesn’t, and stick with what works. This doesn’t mean you should copy and paste old content verbatim, but you should give your audience more of what they want. Tweak the copy of successful posts, and expand on their ideas in other posts. When you pay attention to what works, you’ll find that creating good content ultimately takes less time and energy than creating bad content.
10. Use Social Media to Respond and Engage
It’s called Social Media after all! Half of the battle is engaging with your fans and creating a conversation. Responding to comments, sharing posts that mention your company, and “liking” your fans’ content can be just as effective as posting your own, and takes much less time and effort.
Tip #1: Use social media marketing to sell your products and services
Before major social media networks made the foray into e-commerce, the selling relationship for businesses looked like this: listen, help solve problems, and make the sale. With the rise of social selling, the opportunity to connect with potential customers during the research phase got much easier with social media monitoring and social media engagement tactics. These tactics changed the game for social media marketing for small business.
Tip #2: Large networks like Twitter can improve your customer relationships
With 72% of people more likely to make a future purchase from a small business after they interact with them on Twitter, there’s no reason for companies not to be on Twitter. The key to finding success on social media is to be on the social network your customers are on—and with over 200 million active users, there’s a high chance many of your customers are on Twitter. Twitter can help your business build relationships with customers, and connect you with the businesses and communities you are interested in. Using features like advanced Twitter search and Twitter lists, building and improving customer relationships online is manageable even with a small team.
Tip #3: Social media marketing can drastically increase your reach
Facebook and Twitter advertising have made it possible for companies to increase their reach through targeted ads and sponsored messaging. Social media marketing provides businesses with an opportunity to reach customers across the world—as opposed to a more traditional advertising medium such as a billboard, which is only visible to people on a particular route in a single city.
Tip #4: A LinkedIn business page can expand your professional network
One of the most important social networks, where all businesses, big or small, should have a presence, is LinkedIn. LinkedIn allows businesses to provide authenticity and credibility of their brand through a business page that houses information covering the bases of who, what, and where of your business. It also allows small businesses to be in a space where professionals, potential investors, and customers are on. A LinkedIn company page is also a free marketing tool and if used correctly, can be an highly effective one.
Tip #5: Facebook Page can improve your business’s customer support
Providing customer support can be expensive and time-consuming. But, with social media networks like Facebook, you are provided with an outlet to effectively solve customer problems. With the availability to post on your Facebook wall or send private messages, customers can connect directly to companies if and when they have a problem or feedback.
Tip #6: Use your social media presence to manage your brand’s online reputation
Trust is an important element in obtaining customer loyalty, and one of the best ways to gain this trust is giving people easy online access to information about your company. Neglecting your social media presence is one way of losing the opportunity to gain new customers or nurture current relationships. Gain the trust of your current and potential customers by creating social media profiles like a LinkedIn company page, Facebook business Page, Twitter profile, or an Instagram account. This puts a voice (and a face) to your company, which will give people more incentive to trust your brand.
If you’re a small local business getting ready to embark on a marketing campaign, using a locally based marketing specialist can provide enormous benefits to your business. Choosing to work with someone who is local means you will be getting a marketing representative who understands the things that make both your neighborhood and your market unique, which can provide many advantages over using a large, distantly located marketing firm.
Here are the top reasons why your local, neighborhood marketing specialist is the way to go:
1. They Understand Your Market
Someone who is a part of the same local community as your business has the unique advantage of understanding what makes local residents tick, because they’re one of them. A local marketing specialist will have experiential knowledge about how news events and market trends affect your community, making them able to adapt their marketing efforts in a way that can use these local shifts in opinion to the benefit of your business.
2. They Understand Your Customers
Every market is different, often in subtle ways. The ways in which consumers shop, buy and research the businesses they use can vary not only between neighboring towns, but even between different neighborhoods in the same city. A local marketing representative will be able to understand the needs and motivations of your neighborhood and they might even be a neighbor!
3. They Know What Works and What Doesn’t in Your Area
A marketing specialist who is native to your area has seen other local businesses succeed and fail. By having a sense of the history of your industry and market, they can help you avoid the mistakes made by local businesses that came before you.
4. You Can Meet Them in Person
Technology allows people to communicate over long distances, and this is undoubtedly a good thing. But, it can’t replace the strength of the relationships you can form with a marketing partner who you can easily have a face to face chat with when needed. This also provides them with a wealth of knowledge because they can visit your place of business, interact with your customers, and use that information to better guide you.
5. They Can Create Networking Opportunities
Having a local relationship with your marketing specialist or media sales rep comes with great opportunities for networking. They’ll be able to introduce you to other business owners, or even potential customers, which can further strengthen the sense of community that working with a local can bring.
6. They’re More Available Than a National Rep
Chances are good that a local marketing professional will have fewer clients than someone working with businesses all over the country, and have stronger relationships with the ones they do have. They’ll have the time and the energy to work closely with you during every step of your marketing campaign.
7. You Improve the Local Economy
Together You’re able to provide a job to a local resident, and in turn they help you boost your sales. It’s a win/win!
8. You Strengthen the Sense of Community in Your Neighborhood
Besides the financial incentives, when you keep your marketing services as local as the rest of your business, you help to bolster the social bonds within your community, making it a better place for everyone to live.
9. They Might Even Patronize Your Business!
These people live and play in your backyard, which means they can offer you something a far off marketer never could—the insight provided by being able to interact with your business on the same level as your customers. They’re able to better understand your needs, as well as the needs of your customers, enabling them to help your business reach its true potential.
The local pages I mentioned recently changed from Google Places to Google + Local which is really an extension of Google+. Google forced 150M businesses that had a Google Places page to Google+ Local (called Google Search) to compete with Facebook. Note the incorporation of “Google +” and the new local listing tabs for local businesses can be found underneath the “Circles button” in the social site of Google+. Click on the icon that says “Local” to view more.
Mixed terminology is still in use – it’s sometimes called Google Places and other times Google Search. If you open up a search window in Google, look at the options on the left starting with Web > Images > Maps> etc. Click on More and you will see Places. The red push pins are Google Place listings.
However, if you open a Google Place listing, it now turns into a Google + account. Here are some of the changes Google made:
– Google Places were a static one page listing with address, telephone number, website, and reviews.
– The new Google Local pages are dynamic and interactive with things like Write a Review; and, is within a Google + page now. As people begin to Search more from within their Google + accounts, it becomes all the more important for a business to have a Google Local page.
Small businesses have historically been slow to adopt the content marketing strategies that corporate marketers use. But as SEO has evolved significantly in recent years, it has become clear that small businesses need to include how-tos, e-books, comparison guides, and other content marketing techniques to remain competitive in the rankings.
Whether the content is created in-house or outsourced to an agency, there will be a time when creative ideas for interesting new content become scarce.
Content marketing is now a required component of SEO. And it works by engaging new and existing audiences, and encouraging sharing. For small businesses, it is difficult to stay on course, though, and ideas are tough to generate on a consistent basis. Understanding the content strategies that have worked in the past and diversifying the media by which they are created are helpful tactics for staying on course with the consistent creation of content.
When you think about using video as part of your marketing arsenal, you probably cringe a little. There’s a large part of the small business community that is still under the impression that using video for marketing purposes is very costly, and doesn’t really add value or have a high ROI. Well, we’re here to disprove this notion.
There are many ways video can increase your interactions with your target audience online, enhance your website and overall increase your sales. Taking the time to research best practices for video creation, and common SEO practices in relation to videos, can help you achieve a higher ROI and increase brand awareness. If you’re feeling less than confident with adding video to your website, or simply just don’t have the time, you should invest in assistance from a company like Cybertaries to help you achieve your marketing goals.
Thanks to social media, everyone has a voice. When people have a bad experience with a business – whether perceived or real – they can quickly take to the internet and tell the world about your brand, slinging bad reviews out into the digital world, potentially wreaking havoc on your business. How you respond can greatly affect your brand, making online reputation management a vital part of your business plan.
Online reputation management is a vital part of your business plan. Remaining transparent and sincere throughout the process will help your customers feel valued, heard and important. Focus on customer service, respond quickly to bad reviews, and offer restitution where applicable. You will likely generate loyal customers from a bad experience. This can lead to an all-around positive presence online, driven by positive reviews.
First of all, what is local search? Well simply put, it’s when people are searching online for businesses or services in a specific geographical area.
Why is it important for businesses to be visible in local searches? The simple answer is that if you want customers to find your business you need to be visible online. Online local search is the natural evolution of traditional off-line advertising in newspapers, magazines, billboards, etc. to online advertising, and let’s face it that’s where the world is moving, ONLINE!
Online local search has grown, while traditional media has declined, so let us help your business to be more visible online by optimizing your online presence through local searches.
Remember customers are looking for your business online, so make that connection with local search.
So 2015 has started for each of us with new aspirations and activities... just remember that your competitors are not resting either. So keeping this in mind, have you prepared an effective marketing strategy for 2015 that will help you stand out from the crowd?
Don't panic though if you haven't done so yet. Our team is ready to assist you with achieving your marketing goals for 2015, but don’t wait too long, give us a call today before your competitors does.