23 Jul

What’s your marketing attitude?

Did you know that most businesses will get 80% of their sales from 20% of their customers? This is why it’s important to know exactly who those 20% are and focus your advertising on that segment.

When developing a campaign, you want to find answers to who your prospects are, where they are, why, when, and how they are converted into active buyers.

Also, what’s your competition doing? To successfully market your business, you must first understand where your company is in relation to the competition. How do you want your company to be perceived by customers? Image is important and having a clear understanding of the answers to these questions, enables you to position your business and marketing strategy accordingly. You don’t want to be the jack of all trades or everything to everybody. Instead, identify your customer and their needs.

Once you fully understand your market, you can package what you’re offering in a  way that you know will appeal to your target customer and get them to achieve your desired end result.  The closer you get to that desired end result, the better you’ll do in business. If you’re always focusing on meeting the needs of your clients, you’ll have regular business and things will run smoothly.

Lastly, it’s imperative that you communicate your business precisely and each experience a customer has should be consistent. Think of going to a restaurant for your favorite soup to find that they changed the recipe, would you return if you disliked the new taste?

Marketing can definitely be an overwhelming concept. You’re surely not alone if it seems confusing. If you know where to begin or how to focus your efforts, things will go smoothly and you’ll find success. On the other hand, if marketing tasks are getting pushed aside for lack of interest, appeal or ability to delegate, then keep in mind that putting off unappealing tasks can be the demise of your business.

21 Jul

Don’t ignore the power of email

Here’s an article I wrote for one of my clients (ARMS). It appeared on their blog on May 5, 2010. I think you might find it to be useful.

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Communicating with your customers beyond when they stop in your store, is essential. Seems like simple advice, but quite simply, not everyone seems to do it.

Let’s start from the beginning. Are you collecting email addresses? I’m always surprised how many of you aren’t. It pays to cllect data and keep it up-to-date. If you’re like some of the jewelers I’ve talked to, asking for email is an inconsistent request and once the info is collected, it’s not used promptly so validating emails is postponed and postponed. Ultimataly, the effort is wasted and opportunities for further developing customer loyalty put aside.

Does this sound familiar?

Don’t let yourself fall into this trap. With only so many hours in a day, it’s understandable why people hestitate to add another task. but, this one is worth your time and before you know it, it’ll be habit. If you don’t own software for accurately logging customer data – including emails – then you should, but that’s a topic for another day. Suffice it to say, that such software will streamline your business life and make entering, editing and tracking customers and sales easy and accurate. On the most basic level, buy a guest book. Place it on the counter and ask guests to sign in and provide email. Then assign a salesperson to enter this information wherever you store client data (if what I wrote here still leaves questions for you – email me). This approach collects data from non-buyers as well as buyers.  Another way to collect the data is at the point of sale. It’s not so much work to ask this simple question: May I have your email please? We often email customers about special events or promotions that we don’t share with the public.

However you collect this data…is up to you.

Now onto the emails. How would you like to know who opened or viewed your message, if they forwarded it to friends (and who), what interested in about your message and how many times they viewed it? Sounds great, doesn’t it? That’s the power of email. Information at your fingertips. If you send regular and meaningful messages to your customers, they will appreciate it. When it comes time to make a purchase..wh will they think of? You!

21 Jul

Website Confusion

I was meeting with a client about a series of postcards we’re working on when he enthusiastically spun his laptop around to show me an image from his website. I couldn’t help myself any longer. It’s been a long time coming and his love for his website is clearly clouding his judgement.

It’s ugly and outdated…nothing to rave about.

This is not a new subject between him and I, but one I’ve previously and ever so gingerly touched on. I know how much he loves this site and I didn’t want to burst his bauble.

So I asked him why he’s resisting the tack of redesigning his website. I told him it’s old, dated, and not an image that effectively communicates the image or brand he’s working so hard to convey.

He was crushed. I felt like I had just bullied him in the playground or something.

Then he went on to explain why he has the love affair. He said, “I get a good number of hits, it’s working. Why change something that works?! Plus, I like it.”

I understand. Believe me. My own website has been under construction for what feels like a decade. But when you’ve worked so hard to establish a visual relationship with your existing and potential clients, you want everything to coordinate. Today, people “check up” on the businesses they are considering doing business with by visiting them online. Sure, referrals are important but even they will visit your site and what they see will leave a first impression of your business before they ever walk through your door. In fact, if in the process of searching you out online, they either 1. had trouble finding you or 2. found a store with an easier to navigate and read website, they might skip visiting you altogether.

Here are a few facts:

  • According to a 2008 study, 75.9% US residents have internet access. about 90% of all internet users send or receive email. Given the many other variations in internet use among different age groups, it is notable that this basic communications tool is almost universally used. People age 70 and older are still offline with only 26% of Americans age 70-75 and 17% of Americans age 76 or older going online, Pew Internet & American Life Project says.
  • According to the 2009 Digital Future Report on internet usage (US), 40 percent of those age 66 and older go online — a level that has increased from 29 percent in 2000. The percentage of homes with three or more continues to increase. Now, 24 percent of American households have at least three computers. Not surprisingly, the percentage of households with no computers continues to decline; in the current study only 15 percent of homes in America do not have a computer

Finally, touching on his point that his site gets hits. When I pressed further, I learned that he had been reviewing the stats on his website to understand who is really visiting and to see any correlation between marketing efforts and increased visits. He was assuming it was driving traffic because people would mention that they looked at it before they visited. I have to wonder how many people visited the site and didn’t come to the store.

The bottom line is don’t assume. Use statistics to drive your decisions not passion. While you may have a fondness toward one thing, doesn’t mean that it works. It may, but the numbers should always back you up. Lastly, maintain consistency in everything you do.