Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Everyone likes a deal. The Power of Deals in Marketing

Recently we asked "Do you use coupons or special offers in
your marketing?" The resounding answer was yes: 88% of survey
respondents said they do. The interpretation was that maybe
the economic times called for a way to bring in more people
and keep cash flowing. So this week we will talk about the
power of offering deals, and how they can be used as a
powerful marketing tool for your business in good times and

Everyone likes a deal, even the mega-rich. There are two
deal types that consumers respect and respond well to: work
& reward and one-time/blow-out. Work & reward
involves a reward for consumers doing some work where
consumers feel that what they are gaining is more valuable
than what they are giving up; if there is no give and take,
there is no perceived deal. A blow-out or one-time deal is
something that is drastically reduced in price with the
perception that the reduction is a once in a lifetime offer.

Examples of "real deals"

· - A "buy one get one free" requires the consumer to
buy something in order to get the deal

· - Save $100 off the normal price of a $500 item
because we need to reduce inventory or we made a great buy at
a drastically lower cost. Only 10 are available at this

As the saying goes "If it sounds too good to be
probably is." Consumers are skeptical, so when you want to
create a "real deal" follow this simple rule - Consumers know
you are trying to lure them in, so be straight forward about
it and either give them a reward for their efforts or a
price/discount that they can't pass up. As obvious as this
may sound, it is not practiced often. When it comes to deals,
quality is much better than quantity. One well advertised
"real deal" will produce more new sales and customers than
many so-so discounts that just dilute your regular offer.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Can local businesses thrive in the new economy? The resounding answer is yes.

The new economy of today presents a great opportunity for
local businesses to not only succeed, but expand their
customer base. You might wonder, How can I compete with large
stores and internet retailers prices? Well, in actuality the
bargains the large chain stores and internet offer are hardly
the deals they seem to be. At the end of the day, the
savings are quite minimal and the customer doesn't receive
the service, advice, or personal touch offered by local

In today's market, customers are seeking quality products for
their money. They're choosing how they spend their money
with more caution and rely on more information when it comes
to purchasing products. It's not about getting lots of items
cheaply, it's about customers getting products they want,
they need, and that will last. Local businesses can easily
tap into this customer mindset by providing quality service
and specialized products. As a local business, you offer two
things that larger stores do not: quality service and


1-Be helpful and give advice.

People will always pay a little more for better service if
they know you and feel they can trust you and your products.
Don't ever be hesitant to give advice because you fear those
potential customers will take your advice and then go buy it
on the internet or at a bigger store. Sure, some may, but for
most people, the sense of trust and interaction will prove
beneficial in the long run and next time they could buy from
you if your advice holds up. Providing help and advice is the
key to building customer-owner relationships.

2-Go the extra mile for your customers.

Making a customer's experience run smoothly will ensure will
become a repeat customer and pass the word on to their
friends. As a local business, you enjoy the benefit of being
geographically close to many of your customers. People value
their time, so if there's a product a customer needs to be
ordered, or they call and ask if you have this product, offer
to deliver it for a small fee. Let them know about events
related to your products in your neighborhood, county, or
region as it applies.


1-Be readily available for your customers.

How many times have you called a big store or shown up and
the person there didn't know how to help you? Local
businesses can be reached by phone and e-mail-answering
specific questions about products. By keeping your online
presence up-to-date, you can increase contact with your
community and customer base: update your online calendar of
events, announce new products, and be open to providing
advice for your community makes you stand out.

2-Let the big businesses in your area know you exist.

Big businesses carry a lot of products and sometimes
sacrifice specialization in one product for a diversity of
many products. Check out your local larger competitors, see
what it is they do and don't carry, and let the person
working there know you about your store. Perhaps when a
customer comes in to their store and can't find what it is
they need, the person working there will suggest your store
as an alternative. You offer a specific product and service
to the community, so let everyone know you're part of it!

3-Interact with your community.

Trying hosting events or showing up at local activities that
are related to the products you offer. By hosting events in
the evenings or on weekends based on products, skill sets, or
holidays, you will engage and interact with your core
customer base. This not only allows you to get to provide
your own kind of outstanding service, but it also allows you
to get feedback from your customer base and stay competitive.
Events are also easy to advertise with social media and can
easily be forwarded, which is why maintaining your online
presence is crucial.

The past few years have taught us to be creative with both
our money and our businesses and fortunately the online world
has made customer-business interaction increasingly easier.

By interacting with your customer base online, at your store,
and in the community, your reputation will spread and your
store will thrive in any economy.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Updating your website does so much more.

I have been a part of developing over 1000 websites for small
to mid-size companies and the Fortune 100. When we finished a
website and it went live, our clients breathed a sigh of
relief. "Phew, glad we got that done," as though it was never
to be touched again. I understand building a website takes
effort, but a website that is not updated regularly is
nothing more than last week's newspaper� its only good to
line the cat's litter box.

A recent survey stated that most websites are updated
quarterly with the large majority only updated 1-3 times a
year. This is a big problem considering that the survey was
taken with small businesses; the group that has the most to
gain from their website. So why is updating your website
frequently so important?

Search engines like updated websites

Search engines record how often you update your website. The
more you update your website, the more they will rank its web
pages and the more people will find you on search engines.

Reach more people

The more you update your website, the more content it will
have and the more likely people will find you when they are
looking for information.

Your customers will visit it more often

An important part of updating your website is to keep your
customers informed. Whether it is news, a sale, an event, a
change in policy, etc., all of this is valuable information
that your customers want and can use. The more you update
your website the more you will connect with your customers.
It will also help attract potential customers.

You need to look current

Updating your website frequently will make it, and your
business, look lively. Customers like doing business with
lively companies. If your website is not current, it looks
like your business is outdated, stale and old.

Updating does not have to be hard

I suggest updating your website at least twice a month, if
not more often. You can update your website with simple
things like announcements, special offers, news etc. Updates
don't have to be big news or events, just information that
people can use. I suggest that you devote at least 30 minutes
a week to updating your website. Once you are used to it, it
will be easier and more productive. You will see the results
in a few weeks. In fact, I challenge anyone out there to show
me where updating their website consistently did not result
in an overall increase in website visitors.


Jon Zack

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, OH MY! Social media, what should I do?

First, what is social media and how do we use it for our
businesses? Social media is simply a new way to connect and
communicate. The big difference is that consumers are in
control of whom they get information from and connect with.
It also goes beyond connection in that we all are publishers
and consumers, there's no middle man (aka publishers) telling
us what we can or can't read or publish. For businesses,
social media is a very powerful way to stay connected with
customers and attract new ones.

What are the different types? There are 3 big ones,
Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. There are many others such as
My Space, Ning, etc. yet for now, these are the ones you need
to concern yourself with, as a business. The important part
is to understand the differences and how each one can benefit
your business.

Facebook is for personal connecting. It is great for
connecting and staying in touch with friends, schoolmates,
neighbors, etc. Accordingly, it is a great place for
businesses like restaurants, retail shops, etc. that sell to
individual consumers. How? Simply get your customers to
become a "fan" of your business. On Facebook, someone who
connects with you is called a "fan" if you are a business.

LinkedIn is for business connecting. It is great for finding
and connecting with colleagues, clients, potential clients,
vendors, etc. Accordingly it is a great place for a business
like printers, marketers, lawyers, etc. who sell to business
consumers. LinkedIn is like Facebook in that people connect
with you if you invite them or they invite you.

Twitter is about real time communication in short bursts.
Twitter lets you send out 140 characters of text to anyone
who is following you. It is best used for instant
communication. Good business examples are breaking news or
information, special deals or last minute changes.
Individuals and celebrities use it to tell their friends and
fans "this is what I am doing or thinking right now" I don't
recommend this for business until you fully understand the
media. I suggest you use it for instant communication of
timely information for your customers and followers whether
they are individuals or businesses. Similar to Facebook and
LinkedIn you can invite someone to follow you but they
ultimately decide to or not.

So how do I get started and what do I do? First, set-up
your business on the social media that will help your business
type. Second, start letting everyone know that you have an
account so they can follow, friend, fan or connect with you.
Third, start sending out information that is educational,
entertaining or informative. Forth, strike up a conversation
with those that respond to you. It's that simple. Social media
is a lot more effective and practically free compared to many
other traditional marketing and communication methods.

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Polls Results - How often do you Twitter?

Last week's poll RESULTS

How often do you Twitter?

Everyday - 12%

4-5 times a week - 25%

1-3 time a week - 37%

Once a month - 12%

Never - 12%

IHO - I think it is safe to say that small businesses are
finding out that Twitter is a powerful marketing and
communication tool. According to our poll results they are
using it on average twice a week.

This week's POLL

Do you use coupons or special offers in your marketing?

Please vote at

If you have an idea for a poll send us an email at

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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Do you use Coupons or Special Offers in your marketing - New Poll

This weeks poll can be found at If you have an idea
for a poll please let us know by sending an email to

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Monday, May 3, 2010

TV killed the Radio star. Wales, Newmark and Oprah killed old media? Huh?

Ad age had an interesting article about old media and new
media. Here are my thoughts and the comment I left.

Conga anyone? Get in line... as old media kills itself. They
lost touch with their readers. Wales, Newmark et al just made
it faster. This is not an age thing, it is a shift in
consumption habits. New media is two things. 1 - Readers want
what's relevant to them selves, ala the success of social
media - "I choose, I say when, I say how... I, the consumer,
am in charge." 2 - The other side of the new media is a
trusted publisher around a specific subject ... wait isn't
that old media. And as soon as they get back to it the sooner
they realize their new role and opportunities. Oprah does
this wonderfully, in her own style, on her terms and with her
subject, we buy her and whatever she is saying. Wales too.
This is why they don't get bashed, they are publishers.
Newmark pulled newspaper's life lines - classified.New media
is about "give me relevance or a subject that I want to
follow. Old media stopped giving us what we want. And new
media is happy to remind them every chance they get.

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