Mobile-pocalypse: Why Google’s About To Slap You Harder Than 4 Penguins, 3 Pandas, and a flock of Hummingbirds…

Google MobilepocalypseThe above message appeared on the Google Webmaster official blog.  The whole internet went CRAZY a few months back when Google merely hinted that a secure https connection could play some role in ranking.  Now Google is flat out saying that this other new change will have a significant impact on search results.  The internet is aobut to melt down…

So just what is this all about, what does it mean for you, and how do you fix it.

What is prompting this preference of Google towards Mobile, anyway?

First, let’s begin with some facts.

    1. Google is a business.
      They’re a pretty cool business with a large emphasis on fun tech and making life pretty sweet for most of us, and while they may rule us all some day, they’ll probably be pretty cool overlords.
    2. Google makes 95%+ of their revenue from people clicking on ads in search (and on Youtube).
      Yup, those little ads to the right of (and above) the organic search listings are essentially the modern form of the YellowPages, and businesses pay a lot to get in front of buyer traffic.
    3. Google’s customer is you, or me, or anyone who is searching.
      I mean, in a sense, their customers are also the people who pay them to advertise, but primarily it’s the searchers, because they are the natural resource that drives google.  Lose them, and the advertisers will leave.
    4. Google keeps it’s customers happy by returning the best results.
      The reason I don’t use bing, even though they want you to think that their results are better, is that while Bing was the first to introduce some pretty features, the actual search quality has been better, traditionally, on Google.  The Google Algorithm is just better at returning what I want/need than other search engines, and so “Google” has entered our language as a synonym for “search for, research, or look up an answer”.
    5. Google currently has the market share of search – but it’s slipping to some degree.
      This is pretty big.  Google has commanded as high as 94%+ of the market share for search, but recently, it’s fallen to around 70%, with the rise of Bing, Yahoo, and a few key partnerships among them.
    6. At the end of 2014 and into 2015, Mobile Search SURPASSED traditional desktop searches.
      Mobile devices (Phones, Tablets, etc) are now ubiquitous.  60% of searches are done on a mobile device – and from 8am to 5pm as much as 80% of searches – especially with “local intent” (i.e., those looking for a local stop like a shop or restaurant) are done on a mobile device!)
    7. Not all websites play nicely with mobile devices.
      Those pocket computers are as powerful as the space shuttle that landed on the moon, according to some.  Yet for all their charms, they can’t render flash and their screens are tiny.  Statistically, if a user can’t view your site on their device in about 6 seconds, they’ll bounce.
    8. If 60% of users bounced a lot when using Google to search, they may grow frustrated with using Google and leave them.
      Of course the flip side of this is true, too.  If only Google plays nicely with mobile devices, then 60% of the traffic that they’ve lost might just come back – and I think that’s their game plan.

What does this mean for you and your business’s website?

Well, if your website isn’t mobile ready, then it may disappear from at least 60 to 80% of the search traffic that’s out there.  One study suggested, for instance, that around 70%+ of all American law websites are not mobile ready, despite prolific spends in online tech, blogs, etc., in that area.  That means that the 30% who are may suddenly find themselves at the top of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) with little competition, and that is HUGE – both as a looming threat to many, and a looming boon to the few who have adopted a mobile friendly platform early on.

Kansas City SEO - Is Your Website Mobile Ready?
The Revolution Will Be Streamed Via Wifi…

 

How do I know if my website is mobile friendly?

The good news is it’s relatively easy to know if you’re website is about to get spanked.  Google has an online tool that will judge your site in about 30 seconds, and make a few suggestions if your site doesn’t pass muster.  If you do, then you’re fine.  Find out where you rank in the search engines, and see if that changes around the 21st of April.  If it doesn’t, you don’t need to panic, but you do need to act quickly to get your website transitioned to a mobile responsive site.

If you’re needing help, we’re here for you.  We invite you to fill out our discovery form, and comment that you’re not mobile ready, and we can help you find the solution to painlessly transition.

 

 

3 Steps You Can Take Today To Get Your Business Found Online

Every small business owner must get a grasp on the internet and the world of “SEO” (Search Engine Optimization), or risk being left behind. The sooner you start learning, the better. Of course, the SEO rabbit hole is deep, and hiring an SEO agency that knows what they’re doing is often difficult and expensive. However, the beginning steps are often easy to take. Here are 3 simple to implement tips that will put you ahead of 90% of your competition.

1) Google My Business.

No, not MY business (well, I mean, you can, but that’s not what I mean). Rather, head over to Google and type in “Google My Business” and claim your business’s listing.

Now, Google’s share of search traffic is lower than it used to be, but it still commands a powerful 70% or so, which means if you want your business to be found, you really want to be found in Google. Like, REALLY want to be found in Google! Once you’ve claimed your listing, fill it out with your website info, store hours, phone number, etc.

Simply doing that could be enough to get you to page one if you do a thorough enough job and the competition isn’t too steep!

2) Encourage Customer Reviews.

Search has gone social, and these days, sites like the aforementioned major search engine, but also Bing, Yahoo!, and others, look for social cues from users to tell them how to rate your business. If you’re on page one but you nave a low or non-existent reputation, then you’re still not going to get clicked on like your competitor with 600 (or even 6) 5-star reviews. Fortunately, you have a list of email addresses from all of your customers from the last 5 years, right? RIGHT? Hmm…, well, no time like the present to start. Ask your customers who seem to have a positive experience to review you. Just make sure that you don’t incentivize positive reviews, as these break the terms of service for Google, Yelp, and many other review sites (and, generally, are rather unethical!) Check out Google’s Local Review Policy here, which is representative of other sites policies.

3) Blog, and Publish Quality Content Consistently.

Get a real website (one that runs WordPress.org is fine – all of mine do), and write something about your business. You do it for a living, so you should be passionate about it. Don’t write mere self promotion, but write creative and helpful content. In fact, the more you give away in value in your posts, the more you will receive as people begin to congregate around you (digitally, at least) because you help them solve some problem (like how to do basic SEO, nudge nudge), or at least you entertain them.

You could consider even hiring a content producer of some sort (hint: Find a freelance writer who want’s a few hours per month of work at a reasonable price), just be very wary about hiring overseas outsourcers and fiverr gigs, as many of these (though not all, to be fair) wind up being low quality and often plagiarized (and Google hates duplicate content!).

Take these three simple steps, and you can’t help but improve your business!

Talk Less. Say More.

Sometimes you just need to talk less.  Or write less. Do that, and you can communicate far more than you thought possible. Why?  Short attention spans. It’s been said that as recently as the mid 80s, the average attention span was 20 minutes. Today it’s less than 20 seconds (actually, around 8 seconds)… And perhaps it’s our 140 character mediums and sound bite politics that are on 24/7, or perhaps it’s just that we’re so busy that sparing 20 minutes today is something that just can’t be done as easily as it could 20 or 30 years ago. But we’ve certainly lost something, for all the technological prowess we’ve gained. C’est la vie. I am not here to tell you how to fix the problem (hint: it probably involves less screen time, and more book-time and nature-time and actual face-to-face-with-other-humans time). No, instead, I’ve already wasted my 20 seconds telling you why you’re here in the first place.

  1. But I did it in short, staccato sentences.
  2. And I peppered it with facts.  1 of them rather surprising.
  3. And I used numbers, which the brain interprets differently from text.
  4. And I summarized with bullet points.

And, in a nutshell, do those things, and your posts will go farther.

#TLC Tuesday Returns – Casino’s Law

TLC Tuesday is back, and this time it’s with a commercial that is somewhat awkward on multiple levels, but mixed with an incredible amount of cajones and which, ultimately, is strikingly memorable and…well…kind of awesome!  It’s like a superhero origin story.

This is the kind of video that could ONLY work on the local level.  Complete with HashTag campaign #CasinosLaw!

The really bravado? This 2 minute commercial aired during the Super Bowl (locally, in Savanna, of course, not nationally).

What do you think? Awesome? Over the top? Share your thoughts below!

Memorable Scenes from Casino’s Law:

Casino's Law Super Bowl Commercial 6 Casino's Law Super Bowl Commercial Casino's Law Super Bowl Commercial 2 Casino's Law Super Bowl Commercial 3 Casino's Law Super Bowl Commercial 4 Casino's Law Super Bowl Commercial 5

Did’ja Hear ‘Bout That Interweb Thingy?

 

Cover Pic for 1981 news report about the internet slowly replacing news papers

Here’s a news report from 1981 – a time when the paper was $.20, and long distance rates and super-slow dial-up speeds would mean that downloading a chunky, text-only version of your favorite piece of fish-wrap would cost upwards of $5 in 1980’s dollars (close to $12.85 in modern, 2014 currency).

We’re living in the future!

Has your business making the jump to the future? If your website can’t be easily read by ALL of your visitors, you’re turning your customers OFF!  We can help!

How Search Works…

Google Search Theory

The Lovely Folks over at Google just put together an Interactive Infographic all about how search works, and I couldn’t help but pass it on!

Incidentally, we DO offer “Search Engine Optimization” (SEO) services, which can help you rank higher in Google.  We’re particularly good with video (e.g., search for the Best Minnesota Roofer and you’ll see a video we did on page one).

All Web Content Get’s An F (No, Really!)

But, that F is for fast.

F in this context isn’t a grade on the quality of your content, rest easy.  No, F here describes a shape.  That’s exactly how users review your precious content. In a couple of seconds, their eyes move at impressive speeds throughout your website’s words in a pattern that’s far from what you practiced in school.

In brand-new eyetracking research from the folks over at Nielsen, how 232 users took a look at thousands of websites was monitored and recorded. It turns out that individuals’ primary reading habits was fairly constant throughout lots of different websites and jobs. This dominant reading pattern looks rather like an F and has the following 3 components:

f_reading_pattern_eyetracking

  1. Users initially review in a horizontal motion, usually across the upper part of the content location. This preliminary element kinds the F’s leading bar.
  2. Next, individuals move down the page a bit and then check out throughout in a 2nd horizontal movement that generally covers a shorter location than the previous motion. This extra element kinds the F’s lower bar.
  3. Users scan the content’s left side in a vertical motion. Often this is a organized and fairly sluggish scan that looks like a solid stripe on an eyetracking heatmap. Various other times individuals move quicker, developing a spottier heatmap. This last aspect gives the F its stem.

Obviously, users’ scan patterns don’t always included precisely 3 parts. Sometimes users will read throughout a third part of the content, making the pattern look more like an E than an F. Various other times they’ll only check out throughout as soon as, making the pattern appear like an inverted L (with the crossbar at the top). Typically, however, reviewing patterns approximately look like an F, though the distance between the top and lower bar varies.

Heatmaps from individual eyetracking studies of 3 internet sites. The areas where individuals looked the a lot of are colored red; the yellow locations suggest fewer views, followed by the least-viewed blue locations. Gray locations didn’t attract any fixations.

The above heatmaps reveal exactly how individuals read 3 different kinds of Web pages:.

  • a post in the “about us” section of a business site (far left),.
  • an item page on an e-commerce site (center), and.
  • a search engine results page (SERP; far right).

All three heatmaps reveal the anticipated F pattern if you concentrate and squint on the red (most-viewed) locations. Obviously, there are some distinctions. The F viewing pattern is a rough, basic shape as opposed to a uniform, pixel-perfect behavior.

On the e-commerce page (middle example), the second crossbar of the F is lower than usual due to the fact that of the intervening product image. Users likewise allocated considerable fixation time to a box in the upper right part of the page where the cost and “include to cart” button are discovered.

On the SERP (right example), the 2nd crossbar of the F is longer than the leading crossbar, mostly because the second heading is longer than the first. In this case, both headings showed similarly fascinating to individuals, though users usually read less of the second location they see on a page.

Effects of the F Pattern.

The F pattern’s ramifications for Internet design are clear and reveal the value of following the guidelines for composing for the Web instead of merely reusing or re-purposing print content:

  • Users won’t read your text completely in a word-by-word manner. Extensive reading is rare, specifically when potential customers are conducting their initial research to assemble a shortlist of suppliers. Yes, some people will check out more, however a lot of won’t.
  • The first two paragraphs must mention the most essential details. There’s some hope that individuals will really review this material, though they’ll most likely read even more of the first paragraph than the 2nd.
  • Start subheads, paragraphs, and bullet points with information-carrying words that users will observe when scanning down the left side of your material in the final stem of their F-behavior. They’ll read the 3rd word on a line much less typically than the first 2 words.

In-depth Scanning Behaviors.

It’s interesting to watch the slow-motion replay of users’ eye movements as they check out and scan across a page. Every page has reviewing issues beyond the dominant F pattern I’m going over below. For instance, individuals scan in a different, more directed means when they’re trying to find costs or other numbers, and a fascinating hot-potato habits identifies exactly how individuals take a look at a list of online search engine ads. We likewise have lots of searchings for on how individuals take a look at website images.

The most significant determinant for content use is how users review online– and due to the fact that individuals read in a different way, you have to write differently.

 

Email Marketing 101

Email Campaign
JASE Group LLC via Compfight

Disclaimer: This post falls under “the one eye’d man is king in the land of the blind,” for while I understand the overall importance of email marketing, we don’t make good use of it (because we’re too busy serving our clients and THEIR needs!).  But we’re in the process of correcting that.

Are you interested concerning e-mail marketing techniques? You perhaps have read that e-mail marketing can be made use of quite properly to market your local business, however have no concept exactly how this process in fact functions.

Fortunately e-mail advertising techniques are not actually extremely complex and can quickly be used by practically any individual.

Every small business owner need to be executing them into their advertising and marketing plans.

E-mail advertising and marketing supplies one of the greatest advertising and marketing returns for the cash invested. Based on the research executed by several various advertising firms over the past 5 years, e-mail advertising and marketing methods can produce about $45 of earnings for each $1 invested.

That’s a remarkably cost-effective form of advertising and marketing!

If your small business hasn’t already joined the motion then you can be missing out on profits, clients and brand name acknowledgment. Now is the time to begin your company’s email advertising campaign.

Exactly what is Email Advertising and marketing?

Email advertising is not a difficult topic. In general it means to include using e-mails in your small business’s advertising method.
It is essentially the very same thing as sending e-newsletters, mailers and voucher publications by means of snail mail, only it takes place using e-mail. Nearly all of your clients make use of e-mail as a kind of interaction, meaning that you could be straight speaking to these consumers each day!
There are numerous ways that you could utilize e-mail marketing approaches to market your brand and your solutions to your consumers. You can make use of e-mail marketing to get to possible consumers on their personal pcs or you could use these strategies to market your company in public places.
Right here are some instances of e-mail advertising techniques:.

  •  Direct promotional e-mails.
  • E-mails to new consumers.
  • E-mails to alreadying existing customers.
  • Consumer loyalty deals.
  • Email ads and advertising messages.

Email marketing approaches are really well-liked with little companies today for many factors. E-mail marketing allows you to reach out and connect with your consumers effortlessly and efficiently.
E-mail marketing techniques are also very cost-effective. Delivering out an email is quite low-cost- specifically when compared to various other types of local business marketing methods such as Seo approaches and general delivery.

Additionally, e-mailing advertising and marketing methods have an unique benefit over a lot of other kinds of small business marketing because they enable you to directly reach your prospective customers. Sure, internet customers can locate every little thing they want to know regarding your brand by just exploring your web page, however they need to take the necessary activity to obtain there. With e-mail advertising and marketing you are in fact communicating and contacting your clients without them having to do anything.

Finally, e-mail advertising and marketing strategies have been verified to be a quite reliable way for local business to market themselves- if the techniques are executed effectively. If you do it correctly you will certainly see outcomes, this suggests that you can begin the procedure of establishing an email advertising campaign for your little business with the guarantee that! This certainly clarifies why e-mail advertising strategies are so popular with many small and neighborhood companies.

Kinds of Email Marketing.

There are 3 basic types of e-mail advertising procedures that you can use.  Each type could aid you discover and retain more consumers.

The first kind of e-mail advertising is understood as direct e-mail, and it is merely what it sounds like. This tactic describes the practice of delivering out direct marketing messages and promotions to your consumer’s e-mail account. These messages could be statements of unique offers, or sales.
They could be used to proliferate the word regarding any type of brand-new services your company is offering or new areas it can now offer. These e-mails will certainly typically have a ‘call to action’ consisted of in them, which encourages the customer to take some kind of activity to obtain a marketing offer. This ‘phone call to action’ could consist of asking the customer to sign-up for a solution, see your company’s residence web page or make a telephone call.

Primarily, direct e-mails tell your clients just what is taking place with your business and all they have to do to see it is to open up the email.

The 2nd kind of e-mail advertising is called “retention,” or “loyalty,” e-mailing. Loyalty e-mails are developed not only to inform your customers concerning your business, yet likewise to assist develop a lengthy term partnership with them. Recognition e-mails promote greater than simply promos and advertising campaigns; they likewise consist of material that is useful to the viewers.

These e-mails include content that will amuse, inform and involve the viewers, so that they will certainly feel a bond with your small business.

The most usual kind of loyalty e-mails made use of in e-mail marketing methods is e-newsletters.

The 3rd email marketing strategy is straight-up email advertising and marketing, basically you will certainly be making use of e-mail content developed by another person. This means connecting your company’s advertising campaign to an email or newsletter developed by one more firm. You have actually most likely gotten such an email already- where one more company is marketing on the top, bottom or sides of the email.

This could additionally be a quite effective method to make use of e-mail marketing to improve your local business’s advertising and marketing reach.

Incorporating email marketing

This was just the tip of the iceberg!  We’ll have more information coming shortly about email marketing.  In the mean time…consider signing up for our news letter.  It’s packed full of content (not pitches).

Obtain Additional Clients Via Blogging

It ought not to be a surprise that blogging correctly can amass you focus, and such attention could place you “leading of thoughts” when individuals come around to thinking about specific topics. And being top of mind could help you acquire even more customers, duration! When I think of tales I appreciate, like the Lord of the Rings, I have a few blog writers who I instantly consider. So too for politics, or religious beliefs, and so on

I additionally have a few blog sites I think of when I consider brand, obtaining even more consumers, and constructing your on the internet track record overall. Several of those individuals have other endeavors that they dabble in (art, insurance coverage, music, and so on), and some merely like participating in on-line discussions.

The factor is: if you have a good blog, with pretty good material, it will certainly make you among the first individuals thought about by your regular visitors when certain subjects appear.

Usage Your Proficiency To obtain Even more Consumers

If you’re a market innovator in whatever your area of proficiency is, and if you could make fairly convincing material concerning it, then whenever your readers think of your particular niche, they’ll think about you. And they’ll discuss you. And they’ll share you, and interest you as an expert. Then others will certainly view you in the same way.

Just consider the wildly successful blog by Brian Clark, Copyblogger. It is just one of my beloved blog sites available for “learning to blog”, and I describe it on a quite routine basis (and I’m sure I’ll connected to it not a couple of times below).

That stated, will merely having a blog site amazingly get you additional consumers? No. Naturally not. However it can be part of an overall method that obtains you discovered. We’ll discuss even more of this as we progress this blog site.lklklkl

Blogging Assists Build Your Brand name

To get additional consumers, you need to create a brand– an image. And a blog site can aid you do that. A blog is your very ownpiece of electronic property, in a much larger way compared to a twitter feed or facebook web page is (though those are REALLY vital points to have, at the end of the day you’re foundeding on someone else’s area when you use such services, and thus placing eggs in another person’s proverbial container.

Picture having spent countless hours (and dollars) to develop your brand on Myspace … You do remember Myspace, right? It’s that platform that madethat Justin Bieber kid renowned, and others equally well-known. And it went from the top of the net to beyond the leading 100 places online (and it’s falling continually, though attempts at resuscitation have been made).

You can set up a free wordpress.com account, or go professional with a holding account from a brand like BlueHost(I personally endorse and make use of BlueHost due to the fact that they’re economical(they will even enable you to run multiple blog sites from one holding account!), and extremely reliable.

New Haven Snow Removal | (203)936-6588

West Haven New Haven Snow Removal2

New Haven Snow Removal

New Haven Snow Removal | (203)936-6588

Looking for Professional, Commercial and Residential Snow Removal Services? Look no further!
Call Elm City Landscaping and Site Development, LLC.
(203)936-6588
For a free, no obligation quote.

West Haven snow removal | Fairfield County CT Commercial snow removal | New Haven Snow plow | West Haven plowing services | New Haven street plowing | New haven parking lot plowing | Parking Lot Clearing | Emergency Snow Removal Services | Business snow removal | Deicing | Sidewalks | Walkways

Incorporating Mobile Into Real Estate Marketing | Real Estate Text Messaging

Alas, Hangouts didn’t like me today, and I’ll re-record this later, but it’s good advice!

Incorporating Mobile Devices Into Your Real Estate Strategy | Real Estate Text Messaging Hello, this is Justin west, I’m the founder and CEO of Hundreds of Customers LLC, and RealEstateTextMessaging.com. In this short video I want to share with you an incredibly simple way to stand out in a sea of realtors. It’s no secret that in the last 12 years the face of marketing has radically changed, with everything heading to the internet. And in the last 12 MONTHS an entirely new revolution has come about: with the rise of the smart phone, now everyone (i.e. over half of the adult population) has a computer more powerful than the first space shuttles in their pocket at all times. (SHOW PHONE) We’re always on, and if you know how to take advantage of that, you can use it to grow your real estate agency. I’m going to share one simple method in this video that is super easy to do and which will make you look like a rock star. You want to stand out – you want people to view your properties before they view others, even if you’re properties are listed with 100 other agents. How do you do that? Well, you know how they say a picture is worth a thousand words? Well a video is worth about 100 thousand (seriously, do the math, 24 frames per second at 1000 words each makes 1 second of video worth 24,000 words, and over 60 seconds, you’re looking at over 1.44 MILLION words!) So how do you do that in a traditional listing? Simple: you incorporate a simple QR Code that links to a youtube video that gives a walkthrough of the property. A QR Code looks like THIS (SHOW), and it’s basically a web address in picture form. You can have it link right to the youtube video. I’ll talk about generating them in a moment. So step one is take a good video of your property. Highlight the best features, and don’t talk too much. In fact, if you have someone who can edit the video to keep it short, maybe add some jazzy back ground music or a professional voiceover, that could only help! Then, upload that video to a site like youtube or vimeo. Then, copy the URL (or the web address) for that video, and head over to google. Type in QR Code Generator, and you can find free ones ranking right at the top. Follow their instructions, paste in the url, and press the button to generate the qr code. Then, you can stick this code ANYWHERE you’re listing properties! Do this, and you’ll earn at least the silver medal for cool and tech-savvy real estate agent! That said, you can do this one better: by incorporating a service like RealEstateTextMessaging.com, you can have them simply text a simple message like the house address to a local number or a short code (like 58885) to view the info right then and there. The plus to this is that EVERY SINGLE PERSON who wants to see the listing will be giving you their contact information and permission to call them! How cool is that!? Not only that, but our service comes with video editing, qr code creation, and more! I’m sure youd be interested in trying out a service like this, and that’s why I’m going to make a special offer JUST for agents watching this video: I’m going to give you 1 listing FOR FREE. That’s right, I’m so sure that, if you try our service, you’ll find that it helps you sell more houses more quickly, that I’m willing to put my companie’s money where it’s mouth is. Just scan this qr code (QR CODE) or visit us online at www.RealEstateTextMessaging.com, and test drive the system for free so that you can see what your customers will see. Then, let us know that you saw our Youtube Promotion, and we’ll set you up with a free listing to try our service out! How cool is THAT? This is Justin West, I’m the founder and CEO of Hundreds of Customers, LLC, and Real Estate Texte Messaging .com. I hope you’ve found this helpful. IF so, please press that thumbs up button!

4 Cool Things SMS Text Message Marketing Can Do For A Small Business

Test-Drive SMS Marketing: Call 1 (888) 912-TEXT and leave your Name and Email to INSTANTLY begin a TEST DRIVE.

4 Really Cool Things Mobile Text Marketing Do For A Restaurant or Shop:
restaurant:

1) Obviously bringing in customers instantly – at the push of a button
2) Building loyalty among your clients – they’ll feel ike they’re in a secret club (and 91% of adults have a cell phone, over half are smartphones, 96% of them text, 70% said they would WELCOME texts from brands they value, and 97% of all text messages are read within 7 minutes!
3) Building a communication list that includes email and Racebook
4) Polling your customers or clients and find out instantly what they like or want! This can help you before you introduce new changes, to get instant feed back.

Make sure, of course, that you’re not OVERUSING or abusing this privledge, and it can help you grow your business incredibly fast.

For more information, visit HabaneroSocial.com/mobile. Or, to test-drive mobile marketing and see what it can do, call 1 (888) 912-TEXT and leave your name and email, or text SPICYTEST to shortcode 58885.

#TLCTuesday – Go See Your Dentist!

Here at Hundreds of Customers, we’re big fans of small businesses, and we love seeing them succeed. Of course, one of those universal experiences we all know and love is the TERRIBLE LOCAL COMMERCIAL. A commercial SO TERRIBLE it’s amazing at the same time, in a terrible, terrible way.

Share these amazing gems, and tag ‘em #TLCTuesday !

This week, we have a good reason to say AAAHHH!

 

HuffPo Get’s Text Message Marketing

You know an idea’s time has come when the main-stream media is talking about it.

The Huffington Post just ran a piece about Mobile Text Message Marketing here.

The key points are as follows:

I) Mobile Marketing Allows for HYPER-Accurate Targeting

SMS messaging is, first and foremost, permission based marketing, where people have asked you to contact them!  It’s not spam (and the moment it feels like spam, they’ll instantly unsubscribe!)

And it get’s through!  97% of text messages are read within 7 minutes of being sent, and 98% are read, period.  Good luck getting those results with email!

II) Text Message Marketing Cost Effective!

Again, the level of targeting that SMS offers businesses is very powerful – your messages get through to the relevant people, guaranteed.

And when structured correctly, they can lead to very quick conversions.  Tuesday nights are slow? Send out a text at 4:30pm about a unique special that evening.  Be descriptive, and entice your audience!  If even 1 or two show up, you’ve won, and very often many more than that will show up!

And, you can often target people within a boundary, keeping things HYPER-relevant!

For more information about mobile text message marketing, see the platform we’ve developed at www.HabaneroSocial.com/Mobile.

#TLCTuesday – Nature Is Calling… Let It Go To Voicemail

Here at Hundreds of Customers, we’re big fans of small businesses, and we love seeing them succeed. Of course, one of those universal experiences we all know and love is the TERRIBLE LOCAL COMMERCIAL. A commercial SO TERRIBLE it’s amazing at the same time, in a terrible, terrible way.

Share these amazing gems, and tag ‘em #TLCTuesday !

This week, the folks at the Flordia Zoo want you to answer natures call.  Me?  I’m glad caller-id is a standard feature!

And remember, if you or anyone you know has ever considered running a TLC, we can show them a better way.  Please let us know, and one of our compassionate business consultants will be happy to help overcome the TLC addiction.

#TLCTuesday – The Buck Stops…Somewhere…

Here at Hundreds of Customers, we’re big fans of small businesses, and we love seeing them succeed. Of course, one of those universal experiences we all know and love is the TERRIBLE LOCAL COMMERCIAL. A commercial SO TERRIBLE it’s amazing at the same time, in a terrible, terrible way.

Share these amazing gems, and tag ‘em #TLCTuesday !

This week, we have a credit union that wants your…bucks. Is it just me, or do they seem a bit confused for folks who are supposed to be experts in this area?

And remember, if you or anyone you know has ever considered running a TLC, we can show them a better way. Please let us know, and one of our compassionate business consultants will be happy to help overcome the TLC addiction.

#TLCTuesday – Cat’s LOVE This Commercial

Here at Hundreds of Customers, we’re big fans of small businesses, and we love seeing them succeed. Of course, one of those universal experiences we all know and love is the TERRIBLE LOCAL COMMERCIAL. A commercial SO TERRIBLE it’s amazing at the same time, in a terrible, terrible way.

Share these amazing gems, and tag ‘em #TLCTuesday

This week, we have a commercial that – I’m told – tested well with cats…

If you or anyone you know has ever run — or been tempted to run — a Terrible Local Commercial, please call us at 740.521.4546.  Local publicity doesn’t have to be a shaming experienced, and our dedicated staff of phone counselors/business consultants are here to show you that there is a better way to advertise locally!

#TLCTuesday – The Repo Man Has COMMERCIALS?!

Here at Hundreds of Customers, we’re big fans of small businesses, and we love seeing them succeed. Of course, one of those universal experiences we all know and love is the TERRIBLE LOCAL COMMERCIAL. A commercial SO TERRIBLE it’s amazing at the same time, in a terrible, terrible way.

Share these amazing gems, and tag ‘em #TLCTuesday !

This week, we learn that even the REPO Guy has commercials in some places!

If you are a local business owner who has ever put out, or been tempted to put out, a TLC, please, contact our office today!

#TLCTuesday – $2 Hair Cuts and Mormon Missionaries

Here at Hundreds of Customers, we’re big fans of small businesses, and we love seeing them succeed. Of course, one of those universal experiences we all know and love is the TERRIBLE LOCAL COMMERCIAL. A commercial SO TERRIBLE it’s amazing at the same time, in a terrible, terrible way.

Share these amazing gems, and tag ‘em #TLCTuesday

This week, we have terrible hair-cutting! Well, terrible commercial, at least. They make no promises about the hair.

Reputation: Microsoft’s XBox One Get’s It!

Microsoft XBox One Reputation

FACT: I’m a closet video-gamer.  I don’t get to play much these days, what with running a company and having 3 kids and all, but I keep in the loop when possible regarding developments.  Microsoft’s new XBox One is itself having a bit of a tarnished reputation, months from being on the shelves – purportedly it has a built-in camera that is always on (creepy), and must be connected to the internet to work (annoying at best).

But they’re getting some things right.  For they understand REPUTATION.  They’re implementing features to “sandbox” rude players who repeatedly use profanity or other derogatory speech, which negatively impacts the majority of users (as was famously lampooned in Penny-Arcade.com’s comic here (Warning: Strong Language!).  Jerry and Mike, the creators of Penny-Arcade, one of the most famous and most successful web-comics, took a shot (See previous language warning) at this new development from Microsoft, but on the whole, it’s just one more way that reputation capital is playing out as a factor in our day to day lives.

We are in a reputation economy.

Image courtesty of Patrick Brosset

#DeckWisely 2.0

It’s July. Barbecue. Fireworks. Swimming. And…Christmas?

Yes, it’s that time again. Time for all of the “Christmas In July” sales and specials. Whether this is an ingenious turn of events or merely an annoying sales practice is up to you. But the truth of the matter is, there is a lot less chatter about the holidays this time of year, and so it’s a very natural time to focus on your forthcoming Christmas proposals/offers/deals/specials, etc. Particularly if you want the media to pick them up.

And so, with some limited pleasure, we’re pleased to announce our #DeckWisely campaign is back, and better than before. No longer just images, we’re back with video and sound.




#TLC Tuesday – BUTT Drugs

Here at Hundreds of Customers, we’re big fans of small businesses, and we love seeing them succeed. Of course, one of those universal experiences we all know and love is the TERRIBLE LOCAL COMMERCIAL. A commercial SO TERRIBLE it’s amazing at the same time, in a terrible, terrible way.

Share these amazing gems, and tag ‘em #TLCTuesday

Our last video had you saying no to drugs, but this one might have you saying yes… to “Butt Drugs.”

ZMOT+2: The Zero Moment of Truth, Two Years Later…

The Zero Moment of Truth

It was almost exactly a year ago that Google began discussing a marketing strategy called the “ZMOT,” or “Zero Moment Of Truth,” which is essentially the moment when a customer is trying to figure out if they’re going to buy a particular product or service, and they stop and research it.

You’ve seen it before, and probably done it: A person is in a store, looking at two similar items, and they stop, and whip out their smart phone and do research on the spot!  They’re looking for reviews, comparisons, and even prices.  I’ve done it – heck, it’s how I dodged the bullet on some non-non-stick cookware.

The point is…

Your Potential Customers Engage With You Before You Are Aware Of It

You’ve put a foot forward online, or someone else has for you.  You need to control your presence online, or it could eventually bury you!

What are your thoughts about ZMOT?  Sound off below!

TLC Tuesday: Say No To Crime, YES To Rollerskating!

Here at Hundreds of Customers, we’re big fans of small businesses, and we love seeing them succeed. Of course, one of those universal experiences we all know and love is the TERRIBLE LOCAL COMMERCIAL. A commercial SO TERRIBLE it’s amazing at the same time, in a terrible, terrible way.

Share these amazing gems, and tag ‘em #TLCTuesday

This week, we join brave children saying NO to all manner of badness, and yes to rollerskating!

The New Media and Cross-Screen Marketing

Cross Screen Marketing tv pc laptop cellphone smartphone tablet small business advertisingTV is Still King of Media Consumption

So there’s an interesting piece over at Business Insider about how we engage with media, from whence the chart above is drawn.

I find it fascinating that it is charting the average amount of minutes spent per interaction, per device.

My takeaways:

  • Your average full length TV feature is about 42 minutes long, plus commercials.
  • Cut out the credits and the intro and it’s about 39, the average for PC/Laptop engagement.
  • Tablets and Smartphones seem less used for full length syndicated series watching.
  • TV represents 1/3 of the screen time per interaction, but…
  • The other three, PC/Laptop, Tablet, and Smartphone are uniquely related by the fact that they, unlike TV, are also tools used to search, and…
  • Combined, they double the amount of interaction that TV has.

The New Media and Cross-Screen Marketing

People consume media differently today than they did in years past – obviously.

And they’re much more adept at blocking out commercials than when commercials were first introduced in programming.  From “Tivo” style DVRs that allow consumers to skip commercials to, to the age-old mute-button and bathroom break, getting your message heard on TV is harder and harder to do.

But not on the other three.  Why?

Because again, people don’t search on their TV.  But they do on their phones, tablets, and computers.

If you want to get your business found, you need to be where they’re searching.

And if you focus your efforts correctly, you can be present 2/3rds of the time, and that’s 2/3rds of the time when you can be most relevant – when they’re already searching for you!

If you want to have a cross-screen presence that get’s you more customers, contact us

TLC Tuesday: Terrible Local Commercials!

Here at Hundreds of Customers, we’re big fans of small businesses, and we love seeing them succeed. Of course, one of those universal experiences we all know and love is the TERRIBLE LOCAL COMMERCIAL. A commercial SO TERRIBLE it’s amazing at the same time, in a terrible, terrible way.

Share these amazing gems, and tag ‘em #TLCTuesday

Our first one is a group of people who are proud to be Americans, and show it in a very unique way.

Local Business Alphabet Soup: SEO, PPC, and Your Advertising

SEO, PPC, and Your Business

Spaghetti Letters & Numbers In this short video, I want to talk about the alphabet soup that is SEO and PPC and which is right for you. Both have their plusses and minuses, and I’m simply going to go through and explain what some of them are.

Let’s start with SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. SEO is what many people think of when they think of marketing on the internet. What it generally means is manipulating the system to give your particular web-page a higher listing in the “organic” search listings, which is the main part of google or bing when you search. So if you were a Chiropractor in Reno or a Dentist in Pheonix, it could be a great boon to your business to have your web-page be one of the top listings that people see when they search for a Chiropractor or a Dentist in your area.

Now, a lot of things have changed in the world of SEO lately: There were Google’s Penguin and Panda algorithm updates that made some SEO attempts invalid overnight (particularly building thousands of “back links” that pointed to your page for key terms (for instance, our dentist could have paid a guy with 10,000 websites to make a hyper-link that read “dentist in Phoenix” and have it redirect to his web-page). In fact, the biggest driving factors of search are now social indicators (likes, tweets, plus ones, etc). Google and other search engines have found that actually being liked by real people and shared tends to be a better indicator of quality than half a million back-links and citations.

There’s the fact that, for Local Businesses Google now gives preference to their own “yellow-pages style listings” that appear now above most or all of the “orgnaic webpage results” that SEO used to target.

The biggest benefits of SEO, when it’s done well, is it establishes you as a leader in your community. If every time someone searches for a roofer or a plumber and they see you, generally that means you’ll get a lot of business (as long as you don’t have a sour reputation). How big of a deal is that? Well, every single month, thousands of people search for a dentist in phoenix and a chiropractor in Reno. And thousands are searching for you, too. If you’re in front of them, you’re getting business.

The biggest draw-back to SEO is the commitment it takes on your part. It is incredibly time intensive to do it yourself, and it can be expensive as an “up front” cost, the results of which you generally won’t see for months. But when the results come in, it can be wonderful

On the other hand, we have PPC or Pay -Per-Click advertising. Now, we know that page one of Google is the place to be. 80 to 97% of all searches stay on page one (there’s a joke: where do you hide the evidence? on page two of Google!). So, given this fact, Google is willing to let businesses PAY to get on to page one. This can be a huge boon, as such advertising has nearly rendered the yellow-pages completely irrelevant. In fact, with proper ad design, key word research, and a well designed landing page, many businesses thrive solely off of PPC advertising.

The plus side is it’s nearly instant, and it sends people where ever you want them to go, not just your main website. If an ad isn’t working well, you can change it on the fly, or pause them if you’ve got more leads than you can handle.

Of course, PPC is a quick fix in some senses – you only get leads when you’re spending (but generally, that doesn’t matter, as properly generated leads that convert will more than pay for the cost of advertising), but it can be daunting. Chiropractors in Denver will pay about 9 dollars every time somebody clicks on their ad, regardless of whether they become a customer or not. Personal injury attorneys have it the worst, often paying over 100 PER CLICK.

So when you think of SEO, think of a long term investment that doesn’t pay off right away.
When you think of PPC, think of a quick infusion of customers.

Which is right for you? Well, that depends. Both can be amazing ways to grow your business – when done correctly. And often (but not always) I recommend a “diversified” advertising portfolio that encompasses both.

If you want to talk about which is right for your business, fill out the form at the top of the page, and let’s talk.  It’s on the house, regardless of whether or not we do business together personally or not.

Image courtesy of LEOL30 via Compfight

PPC is to an Immediate Results what SEO is to a Long Term Investment

There are two schools of thought when it comes to what form of internet marketing yields the biggest payoff.  One focuses on the short term.  One focuses on the long term.  Both are wrong.

Why Buy the Cow?

The first says that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the way to go.  Spends thousands of dollars and have your website tailored to come up naturally in organic search results (what you and everyone else actually goes to Google for).  Every day, billions of people in thousands of cities search for millions of different things, and fully half of them are for something local.  Appearing naturally at the top of those results is guaranteed to send clicks (and thus eyes, and their owners) to your site, which, if properly built, will compel the web surfer to some kind of action.

But many people don’t have the budget, or they can’t see far enough down the road to see the pay-off.  Many will engage in an intensive SEO strategy, knowing it can take 6 to 9 months to pay off, and then quit after 4 months.  You can show them that they were raising up, but they can’t understand why they’re not seeing much more traffic now that they’re on page 3 than they were on page 20+.  Even after you joke about “the best place to hide a dead body” being page 2 of Google, they still don’t get it.

Such people want immediate results.  Pay-per-click (PPC) offers those immediate results.  You can start an ad campaign with Google and get leads within 24 hours if you know what your doing.  Or, you can waste hundreds of dollars getting non-converting clicks.  See, there’s a gamble involved with PPC.  If your landing pages suck, or your wording is off, or you’re targeting the wrong group in the wrong way, you’re gonna spend.  Lots.

Worse than that, the moment you stop spending, the leads dry up.  That’s the inherent danger of PPC.

…Because the Milk is Free!

SEO is the smart, long-term strategy because it is an investment that will pay dividends once established.  The  adage says, why buy the cow when the milk is free — but the milk isn’t free, and neither is the cow.  But once you buy the cow and take care of it for a while, the milk comes cheaply.

SEO is the investment; SEO is the cow that pays in unending dividends once invested in.  But even still, some people can’t drop $10K in one year for something that is nearly guaranteed to work.

So how do you choose which is best for your business?

Diversify Your Marketing Portfolio (The Third Option)

Don’t choose.

If you’re smart, you’ll “diversify” your marketing portfolio, and dabble in the PPC market for quick returns, and invest in the SEO market for long-term dividends.

Yet so many people get bogged down in the debate that they never take action, or doubt the action that they take, and it never comes to fruition.

What are your thoughts on this?

Misconceptions about SEO

Matt Cutts From Google Discusses Common Misconceptions About SEO And Google’s Panda And Penguin Updates.

The Gist:

  1. “Search Engine Optimizers” often confuse algorithm updates with data refreshes.
  2. Panda and Penguin LOST money for Google (in the short term), but they’re happy to do it again and again if it improves the LONG term customer loyalty and trust.
  3. Most SEOs still spend too much time and energy building links and thinking about search engines.
  4. Developing a robust, multi-platform approach across the social media spectrum is crucial to lasting Search Engine Optimization now.

Basically, you can’t hack the system.  But you can build your way up organically.

Ridiculous citationsWhat do I mean by “Hack the system?”  Look at the image to the left.  It’s a screen-shot from a tool I use that shows me the number of citations/backlinks to a page.

See, before the Panda/Penguin updates, backlinks were how you showed your authority, and anyone who could generate a ton of links to their page won.  More and more “black hat” (scammy and fake) methods of generating hundreds to thousands of back links rose up, and many took advantage.

Can you guess which Chiropractor in this page did?  The one with 117 citations, or the one with just shy of a half a million…

Yeah.  When you see it from this side, it sure looks fake, doesn’t it.

It did to Google to, so they fixed it.

If you want real, lasting “SEO”, then you need a company which can deliver.

Learn more here.

12 Facebook Mistakes That Make You Look Foolish

[32/365] Serious Business

Sometimes its easy to spot a flaw in someone else that we’re blind to in ourselves.  A wise man once said something about seeing the specks in other’s eyes and not the planks in our own.

And one of the places this is most true is in social media.

You know that you’re supposed to be there, in the social media forum, being a contributing member.  But sometimes you don’t feel that you have much to contribute, so you just talk about yourself.  And you don’t proof read.  And you don’t engage.  And you spam.

So, to help you out, here’s a list of 12 of the biggest offenders!

12 Social Media Sins You’re Committing On Facebook

  1. Looking Like You’re Self Absorbed.  You spend all of your time “Talking at ‘Em, Not Sharing With ‘Em.”  What does that mean? It means that, rather than sharing great content (content that could – gasp – help a competitor, even though it’s helpful for your clients), you share spam.  You only link to your own stuff.
  2. Looking Like You Don’t Care About Your Fans.  This is a failure to connect.  Social media is SOCIAL!  When somebody comments or shares your post, respond! When somebody asks you a question, answer it!
  3. Looking Like an Ass.  Related to number two, if somebody has a complaint, respond to it, and do it charitably.  Otherwise you look like an ass.
  4. Looking Like a Jerk.  Similar to looking like an ass,
  5. Looking Like a Desert.  I cannot count (but I could show you) hundreds of Facebook pages where a business owner started with great gusto, posting 3 to 5 times a day for a month, and then just quit.  Nobody engaged with them, so they just let it die.  This makes your business look like a vacant lot!  (By the way, we can help with that!)
  6. Looking Like a Burst Dam.  What’s the opposite of being a Desert? Being a torrent of content that never stops.  Got 5 great things to share?  Wonderful.  Share one.  Then wait.  Then share another.  Then wait.  Then share another… you get it.  Not only is a flood of posts an annoyance in the newsfeed of your fans, but it also makes it much more likely that most of your content will get ignored.  Pace yourself!
  7. Looking Like a Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy.  (i.e., not monitoring your page for spam).  Spammers exist.  They post junk.  They respond to links with stuff like “WOW! I LOST 30 LBS in 30 MINUTES with this MIRACLE PILL SEE LINK Http://SpammySkammy/Drugs!”  They happen.  They’re a fact of online life.  But if you never catch and remove them, your entire page looks like junk — even one can sink how people perceive you.
  8. Looking Too Verbose – Always Writing Truncated Posts.  Facebook isn’t a forum for 20 page diatribes.  It’s just not.  Occasionally, a longer post that your readers have to click to read below the fold is fine, but don’t make a habit out of it.  Rather, write a blog post (you have a blog, right? And it’s not a desert like your Facebook page, right?), and then link to it with a small blurb telling your readers what they’ll read!
  9. Looking Careless – You Didn’t Proof-Read.  It’s two sentences. That’s child’s play.  Why would I need to proof read my quick post that let’s my customers know that I “Ge tit.”  Oh…that was awkward.  If you post something and see a typo – delete it and re-post it edited.  Take the 4 seconds.
  10. Looking Like Your Own Biggest Fan.  You like what you write.  That’s why you wrote it.  So you don’t need to go through and like all the stuff on your fan page, and especially not as the fan page.  That is such a cry for attention (or help). Spend $5 bucks and “boost” your post instead.
  11. Looking Cheap – Having A Terrible Logo or Cover.  Nothing makes you look unprofessional like a cover page that looks like a 12 year old doodled it in Microsoft Paint ’98.  Easy solution: Spend $5 bucks and go to http://www.fiverr.com, and hire someone to make a customer avatar and cover for your page.
  12. LOOKING LIKE YOU’RE ALWAYS YELLING!!!!!!!11!!!!11!11!!!  Self explanatory.  Calm down the caps and exclamation points, they make you look too sales-y and hype-y.

Avoid these dozen social-sins like the plague, and you’ll be doing aright.

Does Generating All That Social Media Content Seem Like Too Much Work?

Need help generating content? We have extremely cost-effective programs available to curate content on your page every day, so it never looks like a desert, or like you’re self absorbed.  We can help!  We have a variety of options to help you out, starting under $200, and if you reference this post, we’ll give your our lowest price possible.

Just fill out the form at the top of the page, and let us know that you’re interested in

Image Credits: Creative Commons License Pascal via Compfight

Why Your Social Media Sucks

claim free coupon

I wanted to share a couple of quick thoughts on social media, and in particular why your social media sucks.

Your business has a Facebook page, right? Maybe you had a MySpace page back when the dinosaurs of the internet roamed about. Perhaps you’ve looked at Pinterest as though it’s the next big thing, a unique way to attract new customers.

And you know it works, because you’ve heard stories of it working.

So, your first month in you set up your account, and you post 10 times in one day. 5 times the 2nd day and 3 times every day after that for a week. “This isn’t too hard,” you think.

But nothing ever happens.

Nobody comments. Nobody shares. And you get bored or frustrated.

Throwing rocks at a brick wall isn’t hard, either, but it’s about as rewarding, right?

Your social media sucks. Why? One of two reasons.

First, Perhaps you’re spamming your customers with thinly veiled sales material of little value to them. I see this all the time, and you probably recognize it when others do it, but often times it’s hard to see it in our selves.

Second, and more likely, your social media usage is inconsistent. When was the last time you posted on your Facebook page? a week ago? A month ago?

See, the thing is, you’re primary focus is your business, not twiddling around on the internet. You haven’t spent time learning how to track down viral content that get’s shared, and encourage customer interaction, and that’s okay too.

I want to make you a deal.

If you’re ready for a change, then give us a ring at Hundreds of Customers, and we’ll manage your social media for FREE for two weeks. If you see a massive spike in customer engagement, – including re-engagement with your business (i.e. coming back and buying more) — and chances are you’ll want to keep us around.

If you’re interested, just click the button below the video up above, and we’ll be in touch.

Why Having An “Advertising Budget” Is Silly

Why having an advertising budget is silly.

I wanted to just take a minute and address something that I often find both puzzling and frustrating.

The concept of a marketing budget.

Now, I understand wanting to limit the amount of money spent on any particular, non-revenue generating portion of the business.  Buying really nice chairs or remodeling are costs that it’s hard to see an immediate return on investment ROI, and they have to just get factored into the overall net profits of a business.

But advertising should be different.

Advertising is designed to bring you more customers, with a directly measurable ROI. You spend $500, you bring in an extra $1500, for a net of $1000, or some variation on that theme.

Yet I meet people in my line of work who often have a “fixed advertising budget,” and this makes me sad.  It makes me sad because it means that they’ve probably spent hundreds of dollars on dead-end advertising strategies (like billboards, classifieds in the newspaper, or even TV and Radio spots) – the hallmarks of “traditional” advertising.

The problem is, as anyone worth their marketing salt knows, is that these forms of advertising are dying.  Heck, even the yellow pages, once a bastion of customer generation, is now looked at as a giant yellow door stop by most people.

It doesn’t have to be that way. If you have a “limited” ad budget, then you’ve never really advertised.

If that’s the case, let’s talk.  Fill out the form above, and tell me that you hate your advertising budget!

Then, I’ll personally be in touch!

OMG! SMS Marketing – Why Text Message Marketing Is The New Big Thing

Text messages, text messaging, text message marketing, sms marketing, sms text marketing,

SRLSY! Texting Isn’t Just For Teens Anymore.

Ah, the text message!  Who could have foreseen that texting, which was generally thought to be merely useful in the land of the pre-teens, would transform into something as useful and powerful as SMS (i.e., “Simple Message Service) marketing? In a very short time, SMS has shown itself to be a proven alternative option to other forms of marketing, from email to snail mail.

With the rise of smart phones in everyone’s pockets, the popularity of texting snowballing, to the point that it’s not hard to find anyone who doesn’t text.  Heck, my mom texts!  Here’s some things you probably don’t know about texting:

FACT: On Monday, December 3rd, 2012, Texting turned 20, making it older than that often-texted-about Justin Bieber.

OMG! Give SMS Marketing A Long Look!

The biggest reason to consider Text Message Marketing is the sheer fact of how people are responding both to text messages in general, and SMS marketing in particular.  The statistics don’t lie:

  • Text messages are opened 98 percent of the time (how often are emails opened? Postcards read?)
  • Moreover, 83 percent are opened and read within 3 minutes of receiveing them!
  • SMS promotions are also being redeemed by about 1 in 5 recipients  as opposed to traditional methods that net usually less than 2%.

Want Proof? Test It Out!

To give you a taste of text message marketing, check out the following: Text Your name and email to 740.661.4040 and I’ll give you a tiny taste of what SMS marketing looks like.

You’ll get a short series of text messages and an email.

 

Stephan Geyer via Compfight

InfoGraphic Friday: What Influences Purchase Decisions?

 

 

Here’s a great infographic by the folks over at BigCommerce (I love the Receipt theme!).

Points of interest:

  • More than half of all people research online now before a big purchase.
  • 9 out of 10 people watch VIDEO on the tech they’ll buy.
  • They search for everything, from clothes and tech to groceries!
  • More than 8 out of 10 say posts from their friends influence their decisions, too.
  • People value goods made in America again.

What-Influences-a-Purchase-Desicion-Infographic

InfoGraphic Friday – The Marketing Calendar 2013

Short, sweet, and to the point.  The lovely folks at GetResponse, an email-marketing company, share the perennial calendar of marketing and advertising.  What buttons work best and when: this works for ALL forms of marketing, and is worth a share.  Get an idea of what topics trend well when.  This works pretty much every year, across all platforms, with minor adjustments for movable holidays (e.g. Easter, Thanksgiving, etc).

Certainly, it doesn’t cover ALL the basics, but it’s a great start!

Marketing Calendar 2013 email marketing advertising ideas

Press Release Marketing Works

Recently submitted on Newswire:

Deal Site Marketing Agencies Help Lessen The Groupon-Sting

image

Though many companies have successfully made offers on deal sites like Groupon and LivingSocial, others have not been so lucky. The owner of a local marketing agency, Hundreds Of Customers, LLC., shares a few tips on how to make the most of a venture into the world of deal site marketing, which can be a very financially beneficial form of marketing.

(Newswire.net – March 18, 2013) Kansas City, KS – There are a thousand ways to market your business. From the yellow pages and billboards, to internet marketing and television and radio commercials, and even having people dancing on the corner in a chicken suit, holding a sign to catch the eyes of passers by.  But one of the newest ways—one which is arguably less than 3 years old—is the offering of a massive discount on goods or services to a large group of people. That’s exactly what deal sites like Groupon.com and LivingSocial.com allow businesses to do.

Such advertisements have brought in scores of new customers for many small businesses across the country, but sometimes they bring heartache instead.  Justin West, the founder and CEO of a local marketing agency called Hundred of Customers, LLC., which specializes in deal site marketing among other local marketing strategies, had the following words of caution: “Many local businesses hear the success stories of businesses on these sites, but never hear the failure stories.  Many businesses have faced bankruptcy or had their reputation ruined because they didn’t know what they were getting into when structuring the deal.”  Mr. West jokingly refers to this as “the Groupon-Sting,” but admits that it’s not limited to that particular deal site.

Mr. West shared a story of a baker in the United Kingdom who usually sold about 100 cakes per month, and who decided to run a Groupon offering of 1 dozen cupcakes for £6.50.  “They sold over 8,000 of these offers, which was significantly more business than they had ever handled, and they didn’t account for the percentage that the deal site would take.  They wound up with thousands of upset customers, and a loss of over £12,000.”

However, Mr. West is hopeful for the future of this form of marketing.  “Deal Site Marketing is a new and growing trend, and there are ways to limit the harms and maximize the benefits.  Working with an agency that has experience and training with structuring these deals can help the businesses get more customers than they could on their own, and help turn those customers into repeat customers, which is the actual point of such an offering.  Many companies get them in the door once, and then that’s it.”

Mr. West offered an additional benefit to working with a local marketing agency that specializes in deal site marketing: “Often times, the deal sites charge a 50% to 70% commission on the already discounted price. But because agencies like our own represent a very big source of revenue for them, they are often willing to cut us a deal, which means we can put more money back into our clients pockets, and they never have to spend a dime to work with us because we only take a portion of the profits – usually some of that extra that they wouldn’t have gotten anyway.”

A recent survey of over 400 local marketing professionals showed that fewer than 4% of marketing agencies had any experience in such deal site marketing, though Mr. West expects that in time that will change, because when done properly, all parties win.

About Hundreds Of Customers

Hundreds Of Customers, LLC., is a local marketing company based in Kansas City, KS, but serving clients across the US and Canada.  They specialize in helping local businesses get more customers and attract new clients using non-traditional marketing tactics.  For a free consultation, or more information, please visit:http://www.HundredsOfCustomers.com/dealsite

To learn more, please contact:

Justin West

1020 N 2nd St, STE 1211, Atchison, KS 66002

Office: (740) 521-4546

Fax: (206) 203-1161

[email protected]

https://plus.google.com/102440398423646103937/about

The Era of Small Business

Venezia

Huffington post ran a business Insider article that I absolutely loved.  LOVED.  Go read it.  Seriously.  Go.  Now.

Here’s the nutshell version, if you didn’t click and read:

What we’re on the brink of is scale implosion. Everything gigantic in American life is about to get smaller or die. Everything that we do to support economic activities at gigantic scale is going to hamper our journey into the new reality. The campaign to sustain the unsustainable, which is the official policy of U.S. leadership, will only produce deeper whirls of entropy.

I hope young people recognize this and can marshal their enthusiasm to get to work. It’s already happening in the local farming scene; now it needs to happen in a commercial economy that will support local agriculture.

My wife and I have been big advocates of local farming (small, sustainable, organic, cheaper, personable, what’s not to love!), and we’ve seen the incredible resurgence in small farms run by families in a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) style that works very well.  We even have a few friends who run ‘em!

(Incidentally, since I’m on the topic anyway, you can find a local farmer at EatWild or LocalHarvest (which also lists local Farmer’s Markets! )

The Punchline

The simple truth is that there is a renaissance a-brewin’, a resurgence or even a revolution in how consumers consume: locally.

So there has never been a better time to be a small business owner, or put yourself in front of the huge trends that are shaping the local economies, like the rise and ubiquity of mobile technology and unique “deal sites” built around showcasing the best local markets have to offer.

What are you doing to get your brand out there? 

Farmer’s Market Image courtesy:  Dorli Photography

Avoiding The Groupon Sting

"The Groupon Sting" can hit on any deal site.  Groupon marketing, deal site marketing, living social marketing, negotiating with a deal siteI recently got interviewed for an article that appeared on Newswire.net, about a term the concept of “the Groupon Sting,” by which I mean of course that painful, business-crushing experience that many have had when dealing with a deal site.

Now of course, this phenomenon isn’t limited to Groupon, they’re just the biggest, and thus the largest source of complaints.

I am a HUGE advocate for these kinds of sites in general, as they represent a unique marketing phenomenon that poses a win for all parties involved: the business, the deal site, and the customer.

The Groupon Sting Problem

The problem that wrecks this winning triumvirate of marketing has come from businesses not understanding how to structure a deal on a site like Groupon, and then it comes back to bite them in the butt: they lose money on each deal sold because they didn’t understand the price split wit the site; they get overwhelmed by far more customers than they can handle; the customers become irate because they’re not being handled well, and wind up wrecking the businesses reputation on-line.

Business owners simply don’t know what to do, or how to do it.  And that’s natural.  You might be a rocket scientist, but that doesn’t mean you can change a carburetor.  Or, if you can change a carburetor, you probably don’t know how to fix a cavity.  The point is, your expertise is in your own area of specialization, and it’s hard (though certainly not impossible) to cross bridge the knowledge gap.

Fortunately, of course, having a Deal Site Marketing Agency represent you can minimize the harm.  :)

The MASSIVE Rise in Mobile Media Devices

picture of the 2005 election of pope benedict xvi and the 2013 election of pope francis I, with an accent on the rise of mobile media's presence, particularly the many smart phones used by the crowd.
Shout out to the guy using a flip phone at the top — obviously a trend setter!

It was about 8 years ago that Benedict XVI was elected pope, in 2005. 1/6th of the world rejoiced at their new leader, and the media was in a frenzy, while countless faithful Catholics pilgrimaged to Rome to witness their new pontiff.

Wednesday was a big day that same chunk of the world’s population: the election of a new pope: Francis [the First]. He was greeted with equally as many accolades and a lavish amount of praise and love instantly…

And with a host of digital devices conspicuously absent the before. [Read more…]

The Yellow Pages are SO Dead!

“How dead are they,” the Rodney Dangerfield-esque heckler might shout from the crowd?

To which I would simply show this image, which graced my Facebook wall earlier today, utterly unprompted:

stupid yellow pages edited

My friend is internet savvy, and ecologically friendly.

She doesn’t want a quarter of a dead tree delivered annually to her front door, just so she can look up phone numbers of plumbers and electricians.

That’s what Google is for.

So she opted out of even getting the Yellow Pages, and treats its very presence with disdain.

The Yellow Pages are not welcome any more.

More and more, people are being fed up with losing a square foot of counter space for what is available for free in their pockets, and with far more helpful reviews to go along with the listings, as well as maps, and the ability to press one button to call the selected business.

And if you’re not getting found when she Googles you, she (and the other 94% of smart phone owners, who make up 80% of the searches from 8am to 5pm) will never patronize you.

Google Local search statistics 2012

Groupon’s Firing of Founder Andrew Mason Shows Why Local Marketing Reps Are So Necessary!

Groupon founder and CEO Andrew Mason drinks during a break of the first day of the Allen and Company Sun Valley Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho July 6, 2011. REUTERS/Anthony BolanteIt was the memo that went round the world.  Round kind of like the way the infamous Netflix email went round the world, but this one was kind of bitter-sweet.

Andrew Mason, the co-founder of the largest Deal-Site, Groupon.com, was fired by his own company, and before leaving he fired off a missive of his own, informing all Groupon employees of the events that had just transpired.

“After four and a half intense and wonderful years as CEO of Groupon, I’ve decided that I’d like to spend more time with my family. Just kidding – I was fired today. If you’re wondering why… you haven’t been paying attention,

What’s Wrong With Groupon?

Groupon is teetering.  It won’t fail, but it’s reeling.

Businesses are getting burned.  Many are losing thousands of dollarsnearly going bankrupt, and even having to close their businesses, because they didn’t know what they were doing.

Customers are getting burned.  Many patronize the aforementioned businesses who were utterly unprepared for running a deal on a site like Groupon, and wind up facing:  staff who don’t understand the promotion, long lines, and often being treated like a “second class” citizen.

All of this is causing backlash to sites like Groupon (which has the largest market-share by far, with nearly 150 Million subscribers).

Deal-sites like Groupon and LivingSocial have a lot of promise, which is why they’ve exploded in popularity.  They represent the potential for a unique trifecta of win: a win for the business who get’s massive exposure and new customers/clients, a win for the customers who get a great deal, and a win for the deal-site who gets a very generous cut of the profits.

This model falls apart because business owners simply don’t undestand the mechanics of offering a successful venture on these sites, and if they can’d do it and do it well, then of course the customers are going to have a bad experience.  And if too many customers have bad experiences, of course it hurts the deal site.

A Better Way

It doesn’t have to be that hard.

This whole problem can be fixed with some simple prep-work by an experienced local-marketing company who can represent the business to the deal site, get them a better deal, and help them through the offering, scoring hundreds of new customers for the company and keeping all parties happy.

And we do that for free.

So contact us, and let’s get you more customers!

Yelp!’s Deceptive Sales Practices

deceptive-yelpBlumenthals ran a piece last month chronicling the sometimes deceptive practices of sales reps at companies like Yelp, who in effect prey upon local, small business owners who don’t know better, in order to lock them into bad deals that rival the Yellow Pages (read: 12 month contracts at hundreds of dollars per month).

Says the article:

Like the Yellow Pages, Yelp uses FUD (fear, uncertainty & doubt) and more than a little slight of hand to make their point.

  • When asked about ROI they respond that since your average selling price is $x then it will only take one sale to make this pay (yea right).

  • When asked about conversion tracking and analytics you are are told how good their dashboard showing impressions is.

  • When they are going for the close they point out that by taking out an ad you guarantee that your competitor’s ad will not show up on your listing. What SMB can refuse charging that red flag?

  • When asked if they had an offering that required less than a 12 month, the rep noted that yes but the best returns occur in month ten (hmm I wonder why that is?).

  • But the biggest slight of hand is their use of Google Trends to “prove” that they are the leading online business directory

That last one is the biggie: slight of hand becomes straight up deception.  Using the Google Trends search, the Yelp! rep presented the author of the piece with very specific, selective searches in a limited field to “prove” that yelp was the most popular.

Screen Shot 2013-01-19 at 11.01.39 AM

The problem is, most people don’t even KNOW to search for things like citysearch.com, or even Yelp!  They just go to their search engine (Google most likely) and look for a dentist or restaurant, and then are presented with what comes up in Google.

Dollars to pesos, I’d bet that the number of people googling “yelp” in Buffalo (from the example) is dwarfed by the number of people just searching in Google, since by their own estimates, nearly 1/5th of all of their traffic is a local search.

But most small business owners are so fully entrenched in doing what they already do to know any better.  And so they get taken in.  Repeatedly.

An Ounce of Prevention

What’s the solution?  Every small business needs a dedicated marketing consultant who is on their side, with a vested stake in their company, to help them navigate the minefield of marketing and advertising opportunities, and use their limited resources as wisely as possible.

At the very least, you should sit down and perform a marketing audit to make sure your money isn’t being wasted.

We can do that for you, and we offer that service free, as any marketing company worth their salt ought to do.

Mobile Apps Suck…Usually.

I have a confession to make.  I am a local-social marketer, and I hate mobile apps.

Hate.

Like, despise.

I think that 90+ percent of them are a complete and utter waste of time.

xkcd download our app no but ask me again every time you can't zoom

And the above XKCD illustrates the core frustration.

And Yet…

And yet, if your website sucks, people won’t stick around.

See, customers are fickle.  They want ease of use.

If they come to your page and they can’t read it, they flee in terror (or, occasionally, expand-pinch their fingers and zoom in).

So marketers call you and tell you that “mobile apps” are “the latest thing for your business,” and “if you wan’t to make money, you need a mobile app;” all of which is usually followed summarily with the good, old fashioned: “And I can build you one; it’ll only cost…”

Bull.

Here’s the real facts about mobile apps from a marketer’s perspective:

  • 80% do not generate enough revenue to support a standalone business
  • 59% do not generate enough revenue to break even on development costs
  • 68% earned $5,000 or less with their most successful app
  • Top earners spend 14% of their time on marketing
  • $30,000 – or thereabouts – is the average amount spent by top earners on marketing

Why so dismal?  Because mobile apps don’t work.

Why Mobile Apps Don’t Work

Mobile apps don’t work because people don’t want to open a specific program on their phone (or even down load it) unless it gives them what they want (which is usually something to do while they’re in the bathroom): throw birds at pigs, run through a temple, draw pictures for friends to guess, and check the news.

They don’t want to go into an app to check the local specials at a restaurant–not 99% of them, anyway.

I don’t.  Do you?

Mobile App vs. Mobile Optimization

See, if they want to look you up, they already have an app for that: Their mobile web browser.

Why download 40 specific apps for the 40 specific businesses in the area when they can just go online and look you up?

But they don’t want to squint at their screen, either.  If your page is hard to read, most won’t give you 30 seconds of their day.  Your website needs to be optimized to appear on a screen smaller than the palm of your hand, and do it readily when needed.

Statistically, mobile-optimized websites keep eyes on them for 2+minutes on average, well over 4 times as long as non-web-optimized sites.

The Good News

The good news is that getting a mobile website is easy.

How easy?

So easy, we’ll do it for free.

Yup.  Free.

So come on, what do you have to lose?