Monthly Archives: July 2009

Twitter Success for Small Biz Owners

big-cap-vs-small-capAs mentioned in a previous blog post, small business owners are taking advantage of Twitter by posting daily specials, promos, locations, etc. in their 140 character limit. Although larger companies like Starbucks and Dell are using Twitter ; small businesses can use the platform and reap similar benefits.

Here are a couple examples:

  • Curtis Kimball opened a mobile crème brulee cart(@CremeBruleeCart) in San Francisco and uses Twitter to announce his location and flavors of the day. Since signing up for Twitter, Kimball now has over 5,400 followers and quit his day job as a carpenter to keep up with the demand.
  • Scott Seaman of Blowing Rock, NC has used Twitter to expand his customer base. He is a partner at Christopher’s Wine and Cheese Shop and owns a bed and breakfast in Blowing Rock.

Not only does Twitter help promote small businesses; it is also a good arena to learn tips and tools of your trade. An owner of a liquor store in Oklahoma has learned tax tips from an accountant, marketing tips from a consultant in Tennessee, and several other technical tips from people throughout various industries. Twitter is not only an excellent place to create more online real estate for your business, but it’s the ultimate networking zone.

P.S. We use and recommend HootSuite (@hootsuite)tool to manage Twitter. It allows you to manage multiple accounts, track clicks and easily retweet and add followers. Another useful tool that seems to be working for Dell is Twitter Counter. It allows you to see the statistics on followers, friends, and updates. Check them out!

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Filed under social media, twitter, Web Marketing

Breaking News on YouTube

Recently, the band the Beastie Boys announced big news on website via their official YouTube channel.  Adam Yauch (AKA MCA) has been diagnosed with cancer of a lymph node and salivary gland.  Their upcoming tour and record release will be pushed back for Yauch to pursue treatment.  Luckily, it was caught early and the outlook for his recovery is good.

Why use social media to share the news?  It’s an authentic way to connect with fans directly. As their announcement included news of a  disruption of their upcoming tour, for which fans had already purchased tickets and made travel arrangements, band members were able to reach out and offer a genuine apology for the inconvenience. Fans also appreciate being the first to know, rather than a news or entertainment outlet-the viral nature of YouTube and the web ensures that word will spread quickly.   Although it wasn’t likely part of any strategic marketing plan, it’s a smart move.  Authenticity and transparency form the backbone of social media strategy.

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Filed under marketing basics, social media, viral marketing, Web Marketing

Interactive Marketing Will Grow – Is It Right For You?

Interactive marketing (e-mail, social media, online and search) is contributing to a major shift in the marketing landscape. With social media sites and mobile marketing emerging as the next big thing, some marketers are moving away from traditional tactics (print, television, display advertising), but is this wise? A recent report from Forrester predicts that interactive marketing will “cannibalize” other channels.  In fact, 60% of those surveyed will increase their interactive marketing budgets by shifting funds from traditional media.

Here’s our take:

Yes, interactive marketing and social media are becoming increasingly popular, but it’s risky to place all advertising dollars in one basket or move away traditional channels altogether. It’s clear that social media’s not just for kids; the largest group of Facebook users are aged 35-54. There are still people out there that don’t engage with social media and prefer old-school communication channels-direct mail, newspapers, magazines and television. Furthermore, a recent report from Razorfish suggests that people don’t trust their online friends as much as their offline friends.

For most companies, a combination of traditional and interactive marketing still makes sense. An integrated strategy will give you a better opportunity to reach your target market through various channels.  A blend of online and offline messages support each other –print ads can drive people to a Facebook fan page and a Twitter stream can direct prospects to get a coupon to test out your service.  For example, Starbucks is currently giving away coupons for free pints of their ice cream via Facebook.  Are they still running print ads for their ice cream?  It’s likely.  An online channel (Facebook) supports an offline channel (in-store advertising).

One last thing to drive the point home, marketing and technology are ever changing, so be sure to know who your target market is and what marketing channels they prefer before making any drastic changes  in your marketing plan.

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Filed under Email Marketing, Facebook, marketing basics, social media, twitter, Web Marketing

Websites 101: Strategic Process

As mentioned, we’ve started working with our lucky winner, Dave, on his fabulous website makeover prize. We wanted to share a bit about our website design process…

Here at Strategic Guru, it’s all about strategy – surprise, surprise! Rather than simply building a site with sparkly bells and whistles, our process results in websites that meet our client’s business goals. Through discovery meetings, we learn from clients what function their site should serve – an interactive brochure, e-commerce, lead generation? In other words: what’s the desired action for a visitor to take?

Next, in close coordination with clients, we build a site map, which serves as the skeleton of the site. When thinking about the site map, our goal is to build a “pathway” through the site that leads the visitor to a desired conclusion: requesting more information, booking an appointment or consultation, or making a purchase. Once the site map is approved, we move to copy writing and design. Look for posts on those steps next week!

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Twitter for a Cause

twitter-bird-2-300x300Twitter has become a major player in social media and an effective marketing tool. It’s not just used by for-profit companies; non-profits are beginning to jump on the Twitter bandwagon and reap its benefits.

Here are a few of the success stories:

Twestival, launched in February, raised over $250,000 for charity: water.
Tweetsgiving – raised a little over $10K in 48 hours for a classroom in Tanzania
• ‘Follower Challenges’ – where an individual says they will give X amount of dollars to a charity if they reach a certain number of followers. For example, Ashton Kutcher challenged the Twittersphere to this. He will make donations to Malaria No More if he can get 1 million followers and beat out the number of followers CNN has.
12 for 12K Challenge – raise $12K per month for a different charity each month in 2009.

In local news, The Big Bad Ball, a gala event to benefit the Hospice of Wake County, is now using Twitter to sell tickets, get sponsors and donation items for the event. Go check ‘em out and help a worthy cause!

Don’t drop traditional fundraising practices, but explore how social media can help in fundraising drives.

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Filed under Non Profit, social media, twitter, Web Marketing

Back to the Basics

data driven salesAs the old saying goes, time is money.  Companies are looking for ways to trim their budgets and reach a more targeted audience with less.  Here are four quick ways to use the information you have in your customer database to your advantage:

  1. Make a list – many marketers have data in several different locations; consolidate this information and store it in one location that is easily accessible.  Also, be sure to rid your list of addresses that have bounced in the past campaigns; practicing good list hygiene can lead to a higher open rate.
  2. Become one with your IT personnel – Don’t consider the IT staff your enemy; marketers need them to grow business opportunities.
  3. Identify basic, but relevant customer data points – find information that will allow you to reach your target market with information that is of significance to them. Such as customer IDs, purchase history, sales data, and order values.
  4. Conduct a test drive with e-mail – E-mail marketing continues to grow and drives the most ROI versus any other online-marketing channel.  Like a scientist testing his or her hypothesis, use a control group and test group to test what works and what doesn’t.  For the test group, use a data-driven campaign.  For the control group, use standard messaging.  For example, the test group is selected email addresses that are relevant for the targeted campaign, while the control group is randomly selected email addresses.

Test and Learn – Send out the pilot e-mail and track the results using web analytics.  Use the information to build a more integrated approach for future campaigns.

Don’t expect high numbers right off the bat.  Remember: “Slow and steady wins the race!”

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A & S in the House!

Work is underway on the redesign of the Worst Website Ever! Dave Sroelov, owner of A & S, visited us in downtown Cary this week to kick-off work on his website.

We’re finalizing our site map and color palette and next week we’ll be developing the concept.

Stay tuned as the project unfolds!

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