Tag - Branding

QR Codes Bring Your Coupons to Life

Using QR Codes on Your Print and Mobile Coupons

QR codes are a great way to provide more information about a product or service, or to provide customers with a redeemable coupon. Most businesses long ago realized that couponing is a win-win situation for both consumers and businesses – consumers save money while sales are generated for your businesses. If you haven’t already, your business should consider QR codes on your print and mobile coupons? So how do QR codes and coupons go hand in hand?

QR codes are appearing everywhere, from brochures to the actual products. They are a great way to provide more information about a product or service, or to provide customers with a redeemable coupon. Several advantages other advantages over the traditional paper coupons are:

  1. Easy
  2. Convenient
  3. Green
  4. Create loyalty
  5. Easily tracked
  6. Can be shared

QR codes have the ability to enhance virtually any static marketing piece from billboard, print ad, bus stop signage, etc. In addition, a QR code is a powerful and easy way to capture your mobile audience. Embedding them with mobile coupons, you can drive both in-store and online sales.

Consumers love the ease, immediacy and convenience of simply taking a quick snapshot to access interactive content. Meanwhile, marketers enjoy the ability to track user access, interaction and effectiveness of the campaign. Again, engaging mobile users through QR codes also provides the perfect opportunity to solicit mobile numbers to continue the conversation with future offers.

Brand engagement will only increase as phones get smarter and scanning becomes easier with more and more apps become available to capture any QR code quickly.

This high-tech mobile marketing magic may sound overwhelming, especially. But it’s actually very easy to implement. There are a number of free online QR code generators that are simple to use. You just drop in the text, URL, content or action to be performed, and copy and paste the resulting image into the marketing profile of your choice, whether an email, newsletter or onto a mobile site. 

Business Blog: Often Overlooked Marketing Tool

Five Reasons You Should Start A Business Blog

Business blogs have become a common and cost effective way to market your business online. But there are still many businesses – especially small businesses – that are haven’t made the jump and started a business blog.

There are can be several reasons why small business owners don’t blog:

  • Blogging requires a commitment of time and resources that many small businesses can’t spare.
  • Many small business owners don’t know how to get started from a technical perspective.
  • It can challenging to develop a loyal and engaged following.
  • It can be difficult to consistently come up with interesting topics.

But starting a business blog doesn’t have to be intimidating. And once you’re up and blogging, the benefits will make effort worthwhile.

Here are five big reasons that every small business should start a blog.

1.    Target potential clients.

Even though business blogs typically don’t involve direct promotion of products and services, they are a great way to market your business. The promotion on a blog just comes in a more passive way.

You discuss the industry you work in, the general services that you provide, and the individual challenges that your target audience faces. This keeps your name in front of potential clients that may need and consider buying the products and services that you provide.

2.    Boost traffic to your website.

As a general rule, most business blogs are separate from a business’ website – either created as a different section or as a different site entirely. Creating a secondary location helps you target new visitors and move the traffic to your products and services, online store or contact pages through in-content links and/or links in your navigation.

3.    Establish yourself as an expert in your industry.

Sharing high-quality and relevant information with your readers demonstrates your expertise in a particular subject area or industry.  Eventually, you’ll become known as the go-to guy/gal that provides consistent and useful information that helps readers learn about new resources, solve tough challenges and even advance their own businesses.

4.    Create a unique community.

One of the best parts of a successful business blog is the sharing that can take place in the comments. You can facilitate an active comments area on your blog by posting and responding to comments That will help you create a community with shared interests, and you’ll learn a great deal about your audience in the process.

5.    Gives you valuable person-to-person connections.

A business blog doesn’t have to be all business. Occasionally injecting some of your personality, going off topic occasionally and using humor can help you avoid having a boring business blog. Give your blog a little individuality and it can make you more relatable and approachable by your readers.

These are just a few of the benefits that come with a successful business blog. Granted, creating a successful business blog takes time, dedication and patience. But once you get started, you’ll be on your way to realizing the many marketing benefits of blogging.

media and content marketing

Owned Media: The Power of Owned Media Continues to Grow

Build brand presence with owned media content strategy

media and content marketing

The power of owned media as a marketing tool continues to grow. This trend will continue for the foreseeable future. Traditionally, there were two types of media.  

  1. Paid — where you paid for the placement of your message. This can be print ads, banner ads, television and radio ads, etc.
  2. Earned — you’re able to get your story placed in a news media outlet and have journalist talk about it.

Now, your company can produce your own content because of owned media. This is, in large part, thanks to the Internet. Owned media allows you to reach the same audience as those other media, but in a way that you completely control and that is more effective. Owned media involves content that you create, control and share. You write it, produce it, record it, publish it and market it to your audience.owned media and content

There are two types of owned media:

  1. Fully-owned media (like your website)
  2. Partially-owned media (like your Facebook or Twitter account)

Owned media is all about providing your own content on platforms that you own and control. Owned media helps you reach your audience when other media may not be doing the job. People are looking for answers to their problems. You can give them those answers. It is a great way to improve visibility and reach your target audience.

Owned media extends your brand’s presence beyond your web site so that it exists in many places across the web – social media sites, message boards and unique communities. The ability to communicate directly with your consumers (who want to engage with your brand) through long-term relationships is invaluable.

Content is what makes owned media work. When you create content that engages your audience, you build trust and, in turn, long-term relationships with your customers and prospects. Content creation can include blogs, white papers, eBooks, webinars, podcasts, video campaigns, and email marketing. In short, any medium that will effectively reach your audience.

With owned media, content that you create and own resides on something that you own and that you can then lend to outlying networks, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

Owned media isn’t just about creating a brand. It’s also about:

* Building your database

* Generating leads

* Converting leads into sales

That is why every piece of owned media content you create should have:

* A call-to-action (i.e. “Like” us, leave a comment, a link to your blog, etc.)

* Registration (such as email address and/or phone number) in exchange for some piece of content

Creating an owned media network with your own original content establishes your company as the hub in the wheel of information. It should be viewed as an investment, not an expense.

Google Plus 1 Your Way to Higher Local Rankings

Google’s latest big shake up in the search ranking algorithm looks at social media clues — specifically through its own social network Google +. In short, Google + users who do a search while logged into their Google account may see some results from pages that people in their network have shared in Google + or have clicked on a +1 button for that page. Those pages will now rank more favorably for that searcher. And the searcher will see icons of the people in their network who have +1′d that page. In other words, people they know and trust have already vouched for that page.

Google search has been going through a lot of recent changes. A search ranking position is no longer a number as much as it is a probability within a range. Factors such as localization, personalization, the user’s search history, whether the user is a Google user and whether he/she is logged in, and whether the user is using a mobile device to search, all effect position in the search results. And means your business’s next position in the rankings can vary considerably.

This could be big for local businesses as Google + use continues to grow. As Google injects + 1’’s into its search results, Google Plus will get more exposure and see more growth. The average user will have networks consisting mainly of friends and family and those networks will be predominantly local.

And as a local business, you want to encourage locals to Plus 1 vote on your pages. This will help your search results to be favored for more and more local searches by local people logged into their Google accounts.

Here are some ways to encourage users to +1 your small business website.

· Place Google +1 buttons on every page of your website

Place the +1 button in a prominent place on all your web pages, much like you’ve probably already done with Facebook and Twitter icons.

· Include a message about sharing your link in “Thank You” emails

On emails you send thanking customers for doing business with you, place links to your social media profiles and ask for the +1. Also include links to your Google Places listing, Yelp listing and maybe a couple other local review websites.

· Include the Google +1 button with a message in your contact form “Thank You” pages

If you have a “Thank You” page after a customer submits a form (or makes an ecommerce purchase), customers are often are more likely to take an extra action. Show them a special message on that “Thank You” page about + 1’ing you.

· Create a Google Plus + profile for your business

Google has now opened up Google + to businesses. Set up your business profile then build circles by adding locals.

· Link to your social profiles in your email signature

Create an email signature (if you haven’t already). In addition to your name, phone number and website address (at a minimum), your email signature should include links to your Google + profile, Facebook page and Twitter pages.

According to Google, 100 million people are using Google+ each month — numbers that your small business can’t afford to ignore.

Cause Marketing: Increasing Sales and Profits by Doing Good

Cause Marketing and SalesBusinesses love cause marketing. And what’s not to love? By supporting a good cause, your business gets to help an organization in the community and, in the process, experience stronger sales.

 

Cause marketing is defined as a special relationship between a business and a charity that benefits both. When done right, companies make their customers feel good, get the sale, and promote a worthy cause all at the same time.

 

Developing and executing an effective cause marketing program can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are six tips to make sure your cause marketing program is a success.

 

1. Choose the right cause for you and your customers.

Think of partnerships that are closely connected with your business and aligned to what your consumers and employees care about. What is a hot button issue for you? Does the cause strike a chord with your customers? If young people and their education is a passion for you and your clients feel strongly about it too, giving a corporate gift to support a non-profit’s youth mentoring program shows a commitment to that mission.

2. Do your homework.

The non-profit you support is a reflection of your brand’s reputation. Take a look at several non-profits and causes. Make sure the non-profit you choose has the infrastructure to partner with your business and can handle any increase in donations, inquiries, volunteers and Web traffic without crashing or losing track of funds.

Research their overhead percentages — how much of the money raised actually goes to the people they serve — and the credibility of executive and board members.

It’s also important to make sure their track record is above-board. Nothing can damage your brand more than launching a campaign that turns out to be a scam.

3. Start small and set reasonable, measurable goals.

Keep it simple. If you are a small business, stay away from the huge non-profits. Instead, find a local organization you can get excited about. Choose one or two measurable objectives in the first year. At year’s end, evaluate your progress.

4. Promote your partnership and campaign.

One of the most common mistakes is not spending enough time, money, and energy on promotion. Successful partnerships require a commitment to getting the word out. Cross-promote your campaign with reciprocal website links, blog posts and articles in each other’s newsletters. Your website and blog are great places to promote the partnership. But don’t indiscriminately ask for donations. Cause marketing campaigns are like every other kind of marketing: provide value and you’ll build credibility.

5. Involve your employees.

Your entire team needs to be on board with any cause marketing campaign. Find out the issues that are important to them. Then get them engaged and motivated once you’ve picked a cause. Consider giving employees paid “volunteer” time. For example, allow them an hour each week to volunteer at local charities or with your company’s non-profit partner. Remember, once you’ve made a partnership, the cause is part of your business strategy.

6. If it goes wrong.

Sometimes partnerships don’t work out. If a partnership falls apart, take responsibility and be honest and transparent with customers about what went wrong. If you find out your non-profit partner isn’t performing like they promised, tell your clients. Then vow to find a way to keep supporting the cause. Honesty and transparency is the best and only policy to follow.

 

Cause marketing can be susceptible to an ingrained preconceived notion that brands will use non-profits to get more cash and profits. But when done properly, your partnership can make a real difference.