Thursday, April 10, 2014

Video Marketing Rocks! 90% of Consumers Use Video in Research


ROI on video is off the charts for most small local business owners

According to Media Post Publications:

Consumers Who Watch Product Videos Spend More on the Product

If a brand isn’t offering product videos on its website, it’s missing a potential marketing and engagement opportunity. 
About 90% of consumers watch online videos, and online shoppers are nearly twice as likely to make a purchase than consumers who do not view video, according to new research from video marketing firm Invodo.

Video is also a key opportunity because of its engagement rate. About 65% of video viewers watch videos through to 80% completion. Most videos end on a product tag or logo, so not watching the final seconds isn’t a huge loss. Consumers are responding well to videos on ecommerce sites, where most videos overall generate a 4.3 rating on a 5-star scale, a promising figure that suggests consumers do value the content in them. On average 12% of visitors to an ecommerce web page view a video when one is available. Many of those visitors often spend more money.

As an example, L’Oreal’s Kerastase hair care line runs videos about the products and then links from the videos to a shopping page. The average value of an order for consumers who viewed the hair care videos was 18% higher than for those who did not, Invodo found.

Invodo recommends integrating videos widely across a brand’s site from search results, to category pages, to landing pages, so that the video can meet the consumers wherever they are. Video can also be syndicated to partner sites, mobile apps, in stores, on reseller sites and in email.

Emails with the word  “video” in the  subject line generate 18.5% higher open rates, Invodo adds.

 My clients have the same experience.  Whether a mortgage broker, a tax resolution company, a bike shop or a personal trainer, videos make the phone ring and the door swing. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

9 Ways to Improve Your Luck in Small Business

Lucky Rabbit - Has all 4 feet

How Big A Factor Is Luck in Business Success? 

Never underestimate what the grand kids are picking up in a room full of adults.  I can distinctly remember bridge nights at my Grandparent's house.  At some point in the evening, someone would invariable comment on my Poppy's "luck."  And while I'm not sure whether his reply was forthcoming at that very moment or not, I did know his philosophy.  You make your own luck.

You see, he was lucky at bridge and poker because he counted cards and studied the game.  He was a national doubles champion in bowling because he was "lucky" enough to practice and learn to depend on his muscle memory.  He was lucky in love, parenting, and business.

This in no way should suggest that we are not all subject to the vagaries of chance.  Lightening struck my factory.  You don't have to tell me.

On the other hand, we who are in pursuit of success in any field might be too quick to check our pocket for the rabbit's foot, point to our competitor's luck, or grouse over our bad luck in the market (I own Apple at $550, and the only reason it is $400 right now is because I own it). 

How can we make our own luck.  Here are 9 ways to "almost" guarantee a luckier future:
  1. Hard work.  Poppy is speaking to us all through the grave.  Part two of his philosophy:  The harder I work the luckier I get.  He would undoubtedly have agreed that he had some advantages in life.  He was reasonably athletic, reasonably attractive, reasonably charming, and reasonably smart.  Getting lucky in the gene pool is helpful, no doubt.  But don't you know folks who are really athletic, really attractive, really charming, and really smart who are barely making it through life or worse.  Business success require extremely hard work and long hours.  More than anything, that might change your luck
  2. Do the hard things.  This is different than working hard.  I can certainly tell you of 14 hour days in my business life when all I did was stuff I liked doing.  I don't like making cold calls.  I don't like confrontation (with employees, suppliers, partners, investors).  I don't like doing long projects with a lot of detail.  There's a really long list of things I don't like to do that need doing.  Doing those things more would have made me luckier in business.  
  3. Do things really well.  My Poppy once bowled 19 strikes in a row.  You don't do that because you got up on the right side of the bed.  There is an entire industry built around the idea that you need to do something 10,000 times to become an expert.  Preparation, practice, concentration during execution will all improve luck.
  4.  Stick your neck out.  I believe that the meek will inherit the earth.  But that Biblical wisdom is often misinterpreted.  There was nothing timid about Jesus, Peter, Paul, or any of those who led the early church.  You can't sell anything that you don't offer to a potential buyer.  And you are unlikely to get lucky sitting around waiting for the phone to ring after putting your name on Craig's List.  Be bold.  Be different.  Be visible.  You luck will change.
  5. Don't be stupid.  I'm hoping that my Grand kids will remember me for this mantra.  It comes from a series I call Randy's Math Rules.  If the answer makes no sense, rethink or rework.  It is a really great way to check your math answers.  This applies to so much of life, including our business life.  Did you just come up with a solution to a problem that makes no sense?  Rethink and rework.  Are you chasing an idea or trying to sell a product or service that doesn't add up.  Rethink and rework.  Do you have partners, associates, suppliers, or employees that are subtracting from your luck.  Subtract them.  
  6. Make things happen.  You are the only person who can determine your destiny.  Take responsibility and get into proactive mode.  Is business slow?  Don't blame Obama.  And don't blame Bush either.  Don't blame anybody.  Change something, add something, subtract something, raise a price, lower a price, hit the road, do a crazy stunt, start calling people.
  7. Help others to succeed.  Your luck will definitely improve if you have helped other people to improve their lives.  Be a mentor, encourager, guide, door opener, motivator, and champion of your spouse, kids, employees, friends, associates, suppliers, and customers.  It isn't necessarily about the Karma.  It is a part of the natural order of things.
  8. Give back.  You contributions of time, talent, and treasure to your neighborhood, community, industry, church, or association will change your luck in many ways.  It will build your skill sets, your network, your confidence, and a vault full of appreciation that may be very helpful when you have an unlucky streak.
  9. Live with Integrity.  One more from my Poppy.  He literally wrote the book on bidding practices for the Mason Contractors Assoc.  Your reputation of honesty in business is a critical component of your luck. 
  BONUS - One way to change your luck is to utilize great outside resources to help with areas that you can't do yourself due to lack of time or talent.  We offer comprehensive marketing consultation for small businesses that can't afford a marketing manager or department.  And we do so at a cost that is affordable for the bakery, the solo lawyer, or the bike shop.  Call me.  We only work with 20 businesses at any one time.  As of this writing, we have 19.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Do Something Outrageous to Draw Attention to Your Business

Big, Big Balloons, Banners, Sign Spinners, Celebrity Visits, Block Parties, Tent Sales

Sorry, this post will not apply easily to those who have an office on the third floor in an office building, or those who work out of their home.  But if that's you, you might just have to be a bit more creative.

I have a car dealership near my home that takes up an entire corner on a very busy intersection.  Once a year, they have a tent sale across the street in the parking lot of a regional mall.  This tent sale is directly across the street.  What could they be thinking.  The tents and balloons and activity on the other side of the street creates a new and different draw.  No matter how big or impressive your business, eventually your facility fades into the background and might as well be invisible.

Another car dealer nearby was on a not so busy street, but the building was visible from the 405 freeway in Los Angeles.  You may know that this is one of the busiest freeways in the country.  No one passing buy would have paid any attention to his dealership had he not put giant gorilla balloons on the top of the building.

Over tax day this past April, you had no choice but to learn that there was a new tax preparer in Los Angeles, competing with H&R Block.  Weirdly costumed characters were found all over the city, and you had no choice but to look.

Many of my clients call and ask if they should spend $1000 on this print adv or $600 a month for some internet opportunity.  I have no doubt in my mind that these Liberty characters cost less than $1000 per location and were worth every penny.

So, you are in that office on the 2nd Floor.  You dental business needs a boost.  If you can't get the landlord to let you put a balloon on the roof, can you put a banner out the on the side of the building.  If that's out, too, how about checking with businesses right around you.  Can you put a sign on their roof.  They'll get some bang from the looks their way.

Or how about a truck wrap.  Most truck wraps or signs end up on vehicles that have some kind of utility other than as a sign:  Construction, home services, and delivery trucks. Why only them?  Why can't you have a moving billboard or even more than one.  Park them around on different streets at different times.  Drive them during rush hour up and down your street. 

Most wraps are around $1700. Then you have the cost of the vehicle.  Buy something cheap, but clean. 

So, I turn it over to your brainstorming department.  How can you get a huge bunch of eyeballs pointed at your building, sign, truck, or tent? 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Do Something Wild and Crazy - Price - Giveaway - Hours - Delivery

Shake up the Market - Buy Right and Sell at A Crazy Price

Sometimes You Just Have to Shake Up the Market to Boost Up You Sales

A barber was having a hard time paying the rent.  His normal hours started at 10:00.  I suggested that working men can't come in between 10:00 and 5:00.  Why not open at 7:00 and see what happens.  He did and the results were instantaneous.

A bike shop was in a very competitive neighborhood, and he was tired of trying to compete on price.  He decided to try staying open until midnight.  He gathered a crowd that became very loyal.

A restaurant opened their doors and was underwhelmed with the response.  So they blanketed the neighborhood with a flier that offered a free meal to anyone from Friday at 5:00 pm until Sunday at 7:00 pm.  There was a line around the block practically the entire weekend.  According to the owners, they never had to advertise again.

Another restaurant story.  One of the most successful restaurants/diner in Los Angeles has a weekend once each year where they roll back prices to their opening week in the '50.  It is a huge draw.

It is a marketing legend.  We all took the taste test in the mall.  Who would turn down free cookies.  Mrs. Fields is still going strong decades later based on offering a small sample free.

Then there's the story of Two Buck Chuck.  The Trader Joe's chain of local grocery stores did what they had done hundreds of times before.  They carefully researched a single product, found one that was of excellent quality, but much lower than expected cost, and bought a bunch of it.  The product became legendary.

What could you do that would be wild and crazy?  Could you take a commodity product and offer it as a loss leader even for a day?  Could you offer special hours to gain fans who otherwise find it hard to do business with you? 

Remember Thrifty Drug Stores.  An ice cream cone used to be 5¢.  When?  1950?  No, at least into the '70s.  Later it went to 10¢.  Kind of hard to not go in on a hot day and get that nickle cone.

What about service.  Here was an inexpensive service touch that changed an industry.  Who would have ever thought that urban housewives would be buying bulk pet food and kitty litter.  They key to getting mom to stop buying 5 pounds of kitty litter or 3 cans of dog food at the grocery store?  Have the staff at the pet shop carry the 25 pound bags and cases of food out to the car.

A Few Rules About Doing Something Wild and Crazy

The restaurant who had the free weekend.  It had to be great food.  $2 Chuck had to be good enough wine for the uppity West Los Angeles clients that formed the base of the Trader Joe empire.  Staying open late or opening early.  You will need a massive sign and other publicity.  Call the paper.

And if your crazy price isn't crazy enough, the opportunity is lost.  50% off isn't going to get it unless it is 50% off the lowest price of a regularly discounted product.  I can remember buying a years supply of Pepsi when it went on sale for 16¢ a can.   Normally at that time it was around 35¢.

Let's walk through that one for a minute.  Let's say that you can buy Pepsi wholesale for 20¢, and that normal retail is 30¢.  You offer it for 15¢ in order to cause a stir and get traffic in the store.  You sell 5000 cans and lose 5¢ on each can for a $250 total loss.  Or maybe you sell 50,000 cans for a $2500 loss.  How many folks will be walking through your store to get to those cans in order to move 50,000 cans.  And yes, please make sure those cans or at the back of the store.

Keep in mind - Wild and Crazy.  Your competitors have to say:  "What?  Is he crazy?  

Friday, June 07, 2013

My Biggest Social Media Marketing GOOF! How You Can Learn From It.

200% Increase in Page Views Since I Changed One Part of My Social Media Strategy

Nobody ever said that marketing was a science, and certainly this is true of Internet Marketing.  Even if it was a science, the various spheres of influence change so quickly that any hypothesis, theory, or law that is proven this week will be all changed by next week.

Thus it can be said with certainty that all who claim any type of guru status when it comes to social media marketing, probably one of the least susceptible to rules, will completely blow it at some point.  I want to now introduce you to the biggest blunder of my local social marketing career.

I failed to see Twitter as a broadcast media capable of driving significant traffic to a business blog or other media even when they had no Twitter followers and no intention of engagement!

There.  I've said it.  I feel sooo much better now.  

We are now using Hootsuite to broadcast 10 tweets per day directed at long form content on each business blog.  The day we begin the new tweet plan, the numbers go up.  Then they start to ratchet.  There are minor differences based on the type of business and the quality of our initial Tweet posts, but on average we are up over 100% on page views.  Some clients have even seen an increase of 200%. 

So how does Tweeting help when there are no followers?  Simple.  Those who have their HootSuite or other Twitter search devise hooked up are on the hunt for specific keywords in their interest area.  Most have their antennae up for Kim Kardashian or IRS scandal.   But there are those who are looking for information on criminal defense lawyer or wedding photography.  And when you have millions looking at billions of keywords, you will likely even get some activity for underwater basket weaving.

I never know if my clients read my blogs.  But hopefully they won't read this.  A representative sample of my clients would have lost out on 2000 page views per month due to my error.  To make matters worse, the type of visitor we are getting from this effort is far more relevant than other methods.  They only click in if the 140 character tweet is in their wheelhouse, such as New Trek 2014 Fuel Ex 29er now in stock at Indianapolis bike shop, T3Multisport.  Keywords galore, but very specific.

I turn the discussion over to you.  Did you already know this?  Why didn't you tell me?  If you didn't know it, and you try it now, let me know your results.  Am I missing any other free or cheap ways to drive relevant traffic to my blogs. 

We are using Google+ (some success), Linkedin (good), the primary website (very good), other blogs (so-so), videos (sometimes very good), Facebook (eh), and email blasts (can be very good).

Monday, June 03, 2013

Classic Marketing Book Review - 1001 Ways to Reward Employees

Cover of "1001 Ways to Reward Employees"
Cover of 1001 Ways to Reward Employees

Motivating Employees Is About Way More than How Much You Pay Them

One of my favorite parts of business is building up employees.  I love the challenge of finding a "young" gem who is willing to learn and develop, then helping them to become all that they can be.  In my lifetime I have had the privilege, and it is truly that, of being that mentor hundreds of times. 

I learned early on that money can motivate, but that most folks are working for a bunch of reasons that have little to do with whether they are getting $20 or $22 an hour.  Some are working for money.  No doubt.  Some for benefits.  But most are working to feel a sense of accomplishment, belonging, respect, trust, progress. 

One way that employees can feel really fantastic about themselves is through rewards, praise, and public recognition.  "1001 Ways to Reward Employees" by Bob Nelson, is a great reference book to help you consider low cost or free ways to build your people up.  You can spend 20 or 30 minutes just skipping around through the text and you'll be stimulated to come up with your own variations.  It is like brainstorming, but with a book instead of a room full of people.  

The ideas have been gleaned from 100's of interviews conducted with owners and managers of businesses, large and small.  Many won't apply to your situation at all.  Others will have you slapping your forehead wondering why you didn't already think of that. 

Years ago, I implemented an Employee of the Month program with a traveling trophy.  The employees voted, and the winner had a name plaque added to the trophy stand.  The winner also got to take the trophy home and keep it for the month, showing it off to his family and friends.  The result was stunning.  There was energy in the air for many months. 

Like anything else, that idea petered out.  We then gave managers company bucks.  They were able to dispense $5, $10, $20 to employees that they saw doing a great job, over and above, being a servant, or exhibiting initiative.  These company bucks could be exchanged for real items in a catalog we received for an advertising specialty company. 

Those were just two of dozens of methods we used over the years with line and staff.  Of course, sales people are another breed altogether when it comes to promotions, but I've covered that elsewhere. 

This book has been in print for 20 years, which might mean it is a hit.  Buy one for your desk.  Then use it often. 
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Friday, May 24, 2013

Bike Shop and Triathlon Retailer Combo Creates Branding Conundrum

In a Keyword Driven Era, How Do You Brand a Business Serving Two Different Audiences?

T3 Multisport in Indianapolis came to me a few months ago with a real dilemma.  His primary client base is triathletes.  He carries products and provides services designed to help triathletes excel in cycling, running, and swimming.  He has established himself with that crowd and the shop does well for being relatively new. 

Owner Vern LaMere isn't satisfied with being limited to triathletes:  "We know the triathletes in our area, our staff is bent that way, but we also want the road bike crowd.  To a great extent, these two groups are oil and water.  They don't necessarily buy the same brands, and they are a bit jealous of their distinctiveness."

The name and the website are totally missing the keywords needed to rank on Google search or Google Places (aka Google Maps and Google+ Local).  For that they need bike shop Indianapolis and bicycle Indianapolis.  They need it in the title tag, description, in the body copy of the home page, and best would be in the name.

Unfortunately, if T3 bumps up the status of bike shop, it might hurt the triathlon business.  In other words, if the name were T3 Bike Shop and Triathlon Center, it might send the wrong signal.  Even the use of bike shop seems a bit two pedestrian for a high end cycling center.  Unfortunately the public doesn't Google Cycling shop or Cycle or Cycling anything.   Google also doesn't seem to see Cycle as being a good synonym for bike or bicycle.  

LaMere is reluctant to give up the T3 brand, so he understands that the brand already screams Triathlete.  The issue is how to get the road bike crowd to feel that it is their store, too. 

We turn the question over to our faithful readers.  What would you do and why?

Here is the shop info if you'd like to visit their website or blog to help with the question. 

Bike Shop in Indianapolis IN
Triathlon Shop in Indianapolis IN
Bicycle Fittingstriathlon training
Blog: Bicycle and triathlon gear reviews and training concepts
Linkedin:  Meet the owner, Vern LaMere M.S.
T3 Multisport
1343 W 8th Street
Indianapolis, IN  46260
phone:  (317) 257-1117

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