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Strategic Growth Concepts’ CEO Interviewed About Mobile Marketing for Small Business July 31, 2009

Posted by StrategicGrowth in mobile, Mobile Marketing, Strategic Growth Concepts.
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We would like to thank Justin Hong, host of the BlogTalkRadio show, ‘The Small Business MBA’ for inviting our firm’s CEO, Linda Daichendt, to be aBlogTalkRadio graphic guest on his show today for a discussion about ‘Mobile Marketing for Small Business’.  Topics discussed included:

  • the benefits of mobile marketing
  • explanations of the different types of mobile marketing
  • the Federal laws that affect a mobile marketing program
  • the results a small business can expect from a mobile marketing campaign
  • the costs of implementing a mobile marketing campaign
  • ways in which small businesses can use mobile marketing to promote their business and reach consumers

Be sure to listen to today’s broadcast by clicking HERE so you can take advantage of the special offer our CEO made available to the show’s listeners!

Go Viral. Go Visible. Go Video! July 31, 2009

Posted by StrategicGrowth in Strategic Growth Concepts, Video Marketing, Web 2.0.
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Article by Lou Bortone, a long-time marketing and branding consultant who helps entrepreneurs build breakthrough brands on the Internet, with services such as online video production, video branding, coaching and creative support.  Lou is a former television executive who worked for E! Entertainment Television and later served as the Senior Vice President of Marketing & Advertising for Fox Family Worldwide, a division of Fox in Los Angeles.  Lou is an author and ghostwriter of six business books, a Certified Guerrilla Marketing Coach and a Book Yourself Solid Certified Coach. Visit Lou’s website at http://www.OnlineVideoBranding.com.

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“I see you everywhere!” Yup, I get that a lot!  Colleagues and clients tell me all the time that I seem to be “everywhere.”  They see me on YouTube, Facebook, on blogs and on Twitter.  I am definitely visible!  But my online visibility is no accident.   My visibility strategy is simple:  I leverage the power of video to increase my exposure – and you can, too!  Lou Bartone - video

Online video is the perfect tool to maximize your web presence because it’s highly visible and viral.  You can create one video and have it spread from YouTube to Facebook to your own website and beyond.  It’s the ultimate leverage resource, because you create it once and use it in many different ways, and in many different places.

Best of all, creating a video to enhance your visibility is quick, easy and inexpensive.  Armed with only a webcam or an affordable Flip Video camera, you can shoot a simple video message and upload it to YouTube in minutes.  All you need is a (high-speed) Internet connection and a free account on YouTube.com.

Once your video is posted on YouTube, you can send it to Facebook and MySpace with one click!  Other free video hosting sites like Blip.tv give you easy sharing and cross-posting functions to add your video to your own website, or to social sites such as Digg and StumbleUpon. To really leverage your time and energy, use another free service, TubeMogul.com, to blast your video out to over a dozen sites with one click!  You get the idea: One video to many sites means leverage and visibility across the web!

Keep in mind that even just posting your video to Facebook is going to give you video some mileage.  As others comment on your video on Facebook, the video then appears on their Facebook page in addition to your own.  That’s the “viral” in viral video!

And let’s not leave Twitter out of the video party…  While you can’t post the video itself on Twitter, you can certainly promote the link to your video on Twitter.  Better yet, there are several free services, such as Tweetube and Twiddeo, that will notify Twitter for you whenever you put your video on their sites.

Finally, if you want the ultimate, maxed-out, super-charged version of video visibility, be sure to get in touch with me about a free trial of Veeple.com.  Veeple is the video hosting platform that I use to make my videos clickable (with live links) and interactive. Veeple’s  new deal with TubeMogul means you can even blast your video from Veeple.com to a boatload of popular video sites.  It’s one-stop shopping for massive video visibility!  You can find more info on Veeple here: http://tinyurl.com/ltdjgv.

If you’d like more information or a quick crash course on video visibility, please feel free to visit my “Video Traffic Blast” website.  There you can find out more about my step-by-step viral video process.  Be sure to get your video online now!  Start sharing your video on the web and soon, you too can be seen “everywhere!”

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If after completing this article you’re still not certain how Video can be utilized to market your company, we would be happy to assist you in developing a customized program to promote your business.  Please feel free to contact us via our website or via email at linda@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com to schedule a FREE initial consultation.

Mom-and-Pop Businesses Succeed with Social Media July 26, 2009

Posted by StrategicGrowth in Social Media, Strategic Growth Concepts, Twitter.
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By CLAIRE CAIN MILLER, New York Times

SAN FRANCISCO — Three weeks after Curtis Kimball opened his crème brûlée cart in San Francisco, he noticed a stranger among the friends in line for his desserts. How had the man discovered the cart? He had read about it on Twitter.
Peter DaSilva for The New York Times

Curtis Kimball, owner of a crème brûlée cart in San Francisco, uses Twitter to drive his customers to his changing location.

For Mr. Kimball, who conceded that he “hadn’t really understood the purpose of Twitter,” the beauty of digital word-of-mouth marketing was immediately clear. He signed up for an account and has more than 5,400 followers who wait for him to post the current location of his itinerant cart and list the flavors of the day, like lavender and orange creamsicle.

“I would love to say that I just had a really good idea and strategy, but Twitter has been pretty essential to my success,” he said. He has quit his day job as a carpenter to keep up with the demand.

Much has been made of how big companies like Dell, Starbucks and Comcast use Twitter to promote their products and answer customers’ questions. But today, small businesses outnumber the big ones on the free microblogging service, and in many ways, Twitter is an even more useful tool for them.

For many mom-and-pop shops with no ad budget, Twitter has become their sole means of marketing. It is far easier to set up and update a Twitter account than to maintain a Web page. And because small-business owners tend to work at the cash register, not in a cubicle in the marketing department, Twitter’s intimacy suits them well.

“We think of these social media tools as being in the realm of the sophisticated, multiplatform marketers like Coca-Cola and McDonald’s, but a lot of these supersmall businesses are gravitating toward them because they are accessible, free and very simple,” said Greg Sterling, an analyst who studies the Internet’s influence on shopping and local businesses.

Small businesses typically get more than half of their customers through word of mouth, he said, and Twitter is the digital manifestation of that. Twitter users broadcast messages of up to 140 characters in length, and the culture of the service encourages people to spread news to friends in their own network.

Umi, a sushi restaurant in San Francisco, sometimes gets five new customers a night who learned about it on Twitter, said Shamus Booth, a co-owner.

He twitters about the fresh fish of the night — “The O-Toro (bluefin tuna belly) tonight is some of the most rich and buttery tuna I’ve had,” he recently wrote — and offers free seaweed salads to people who mention Twitter.

Twitter is not just for businesses that want to lure customers with mouth-watering descriptions of food. For Cynthia Sutton-Stolle, the co-owner of Silver Barn Antiques in tiny Columbus, Tex., Twitter has been a way to find both suppliers and customers nationwide.

Since she joined Twitter in February, she has connected with people making lamps and candles that she subsequently ordered for her shop and has sold a few thousand dollars of merchandise to people outside Columbus, including to a woman in New Jersey shopping for graduation gifts.

“We don’t even have our Web site done, and we weren’t even trying to start an e-commerce business,” Ms. Sutton-Stolle said. “Twitter has been a real valuable tool because it’s made us national instead of a little-bitty store in a little-bitty town.”

Scott Seaman of Blowing Rock, N.C., also uses Twitter to expand his customer base beyond his town of about 1,500 residents. Mr. Seaman is a partner at Christopher’s Wine and Cheese shop and owns a bed and breakfast in town. He sets up searches on TweetDeck, a Web application that helps people manage their Twitter messages, to start conversations with people talking about his town or the mountain nearby. One person he met on Twitter booked a room at his inn, and a woman in Dallas ordered sake from his shop.

The extra traffic has come despite his rarely pitching his own businesses on Twitter. “To me, that’s a turn-off,” he said. Instead of marketing to customers, small-business owners should use the same persona they have offline, he advised. “Be the small shopkeeper down the street that everyone knows by name.”

Chris Mann, the owner of Woodhouse Day Spa in Cincinnati, twitters about discounts for massages and manicures every Tuesday. Twitter beats e-mail promotions because he can send tweets from his phone in a meeting and “every single business sends out an e-mail,” he said.

Even if a shop’s customers are not on Twitter, the service can be useful for entrepreneurs, said Becky McCray, who runs a liquor store and cattle ranch in Oklahoma and publishes a blog called Small Biz Survival.

In towns like hers, with only 5,000 people, small-business owners can feel isolated, she said. But on Twitter, she has learned business tax tips from an accountant, marketing tips from a consultant in Tennessee and start-up tips from the founder of several tech companies.

Anamitra Banerji, who manages commercial products at Twitter, said that when he joined the company from Yahoo in March, “I thought this was a place where large businesses were. What I’m finding more and more, to my surprise every single day, is business of all kinds.”

Twitter, which does not yet make money, is now concentrating on teaching businesses how they can join and use it, Mr. Banerji said, and the company plans to publish case studies. He is also developing products that Twitter can sell to businesses of all sizes this year, including features to verify businesses’ accounts and analyze traffic to their Twitter profiles.

According to Mr. Banerji, small-business owners like Twitter because they can talk directly to customers in a way that they were able to do only in person before. “We’re finding the emotional distance between businesses and their customers is shortening quite a bit,” he said.

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If after completing this article you’re still not certain how Twitter can be utilized to market your company, we would be happy to assist you in developing a customized program to promote your business.  Please feel free to contact us via our website or via email at linda@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com to schedule a FREE initial consultation.

Mobile Marketing is Topic for Radio Guest Appearance by Strategic Growth Concepts CEO July 22, 2009

Posted by StrategicGrowth in mobile, Mobile Marketing, Strategic Growth Concepts.
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BlogTalkRadio graphicGiven the precarious state of today’s economy, small businesses are on ‘high alert’ for new ways of increasing revenue. While recent technology advances provide a variety of methodologies that can be useful in achieving this goal, there is one that has only recently come to the forefront of marketer’s awareness – Mobile Marketing. This will be topic of discussion during Strategic Growth Concepts CEO, Linda Daichendt’s upcoming guest appearance on the ‘Small Business MBA Show’ on BlogTalkRadio. This show will broadcast live on Friday, July 31, 2009 at 2:30 p.m. EDT. Click HERE to learn the details about the program – and some interesting information about Mobile Marketing.

Top 5 Social Media Tips for Small Business July 16, 2009

Posted by StrategicGrowth in email marketing, FaceBook, LinkedIN, MySpace, Naymz, Social Media, Strategic Growth Concepts, Twitter, Video Marketing, Web 2.0.
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Some content in this posting is from an article by Mya Frazier for Bankrate.com

A few years ago, using the Internet to market a small business simply meant to create a presence online with a simple, informational Web site.  Then came the demands of search engine optimization to ensure Google and Yahoo searches yielded top-ranked results for your company. Was your business’s Web site chock full of the key search terms that would bring it to the attention of customers?

Social Media graphicToday, social media is transforming the small-business marketing landscape. Social media are Web- or mobile-based tools for sharing and discussing information. It’s not just for seeing who your high school sweetheart married. Businesses can tap into powerful networking sites and other social media to drive customers to their shops or companies.

If done right, small-business owners might even be able to slash their traditional marketing spending to zero. Writing blogs (short for “Web logs”) or on-going online commentary using social-networking sites, such as Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube, can provide inexpensive but powerful online marketing.

Because it’s free, people think it’s easy to create a social media presence. But this attitude can lead to missteps. So before you dive headlong into social media, take some time to observe the customs and social norms of these new forms of communications, says David Spark, founder of Spark Media Solutions, a San Francisco-based firm that helps companies tell their story through social media.  “Also think about your strategy for effectively utilizing social media before you jump in,” says Linda Daichendt, CEO/Managing Consultant of Strategic Growth Concepts. “It’s easier to avoid costly mistakes before you begin than to correct them after they’ve done damage to your company’s reputation.”

“Think of social media as a cocktail party,” says, David Meerman Scott, author of “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” and “World Wide Rave,” books about how to create buzz online. “You don’t go into the cocktail party and go into the middle room and scream at the top of your lungs and say, ‘Buy my products.’ … What works is you have some meaningful conversation first. And that’s just how social media works.”

If you decide to take the social-networking plunge, here are five ways to harness social media to help your business.

1. Use free sites. Use free online services, such as the mobile short-message site Twitter, and popular networking sites Facebook and MySpace, to post significant news, specials or events. For example, you run a small Italian restaurant with a loyal following. You could create a Twitter account and upload the lunch or dinner specials via “tweets,” or short messages of up to 140 characters, daily to customers’ smart phones or to other Web sites.

“All you have to do is give a (Twitter) handle and start a conversation. You could put the Twitter handle on the menu or in the restaurant,” says Chris Abraham, Abraham Harrison LLC, a Washington, D.C.-based digital public relations agency. Granted, social networking sites are still for early adopters.  “You aren’t going to get Aunt Matilda to tweet about the experience she had at dinner,” Abraham says.

Abraham considers Twitter one of the easiest ways for a newbie to social media to get started.  “It’s more challenging to do Facebook,” Abraham says. “You have to create a personal profile, create a page and so on. With Twitter, if you’re Joe Smith with Motorcycle Emporium, you don’t have to create a page. And you can create Twitter updates via a phone or mobile device easily.”

“Don’t try to reinvent the wheel,” he says. “There are lots of people sold on really expensive solutions, but two of the best investments for reaching out to people and engaging with them are free on Twitter and Facebook.”

2. Shift marketing costs to social media. After learning how social networking operates, use social media to free up traditional marketing dollars for your small business by putting it online. You can quickly learn which of your Facebook or MySpace “friends” or online “group” members received and responded to your message.

Stanya Doty has cut her print marketing budget to zero. As owner of Simple Indulgences, a wine and high-end gift shop in Delaware, Ohio, she began using Facebook in December 2008 to communicate with her brother but quickly realized the online marketing possibilities.

“I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh, there are so many people here,’ ” she says. Indeed, Facebook boasts 200 million users worldwide.  In April 2009, she began promoting monthly wine tastings via a Facebook page for the shop that quickly attracted 100 members. Combined with an e-newsletter created using the do-it-yourself, e-mail marketing Web site Constant Contact, she keeps enough buzz going about her shop that her advertising budget for local print ads no longer seemed necessary. She usually sends out about 700 e-mails, with the response rate sometimes reaching nearly 50 percent. It sure beats a postal mailing.  “If I sent out a postcard with postage and paid for all that, I’d still have no idea who read it and who threw it away,” she says.

Indeed, unlike a print ad, Doty gets instant, measurable results. “On Facebook, you can see who has responded to invites,” she says. “It’s easy, it’s cheap and I’m actually appealing to people that at first know me from the store and then hopefully … pass the word along throughout their networks.”

3. Do your own social-media optimization project. Learn about the competition in your industry and geographic region that are tapping social networking. Spark recommends starting by researching the competition in the major search engines — Google and Yahoo.

“Type in keywords and phrases that people would use to find you, like ‘plumber’ and ‘San Francisco.’ If you don’t appear in the top percentage of pages, take a look at the Website of those plumbers that do show up,” says Spark. “Look at their pages, and usually they will have a lot of content on their sites.”

To increase a business’s presence on the Internet, Spark advocates companies create blogs, newsletters and other articles on their sites to bolster the number of keywords — terms that search engines recognize — to boost their ranking in all-important Web searches.

“That’s the way people discover you,” he says. “Take that plumber in San Francisco. The right search terms might just be ‘clogged toilet and San Francisco.'”  “That tells me I should write … in my blog about how to fix a clogged toilet and mention that I am a plumber in San Francisco,” he says.

4. Take social-network marketing to the next level. Create and post richer content about what your customers would expect from someone in your business. Don’t view social media sites as a place to simply hype your wares. It’s a place for conversation.

“Social media is about earning attention,” says David Meerman Scott, author of “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” and “World Wide Rave,” books about how to create buzz online.  “What’s most important is to forget about what your company does. Instead, think about the people who are buying your products. Simply hyping products and services online and in social media sites completely backfires. People are not looking for products but for something fun. They are looking to make connections,” Scott says.

So it’s all about having something interesting to say or show. It could be a blog, or a video on the video-sharing Website YouTube.

For example, if you’re a caterer, instead of talking about your service, create engaging culinary content. Imagine positioning yourself as a gourmet magazine on the Web, complete with links to a video you uploaded to YouTube.

“A caterer could create a blog with information about how to create a fantastic party, and each blog post or YouTube video could be another installment,” Scott says. “On the Web, you are what you publish and being on the Web is about publishing information.”

So back to that plumber faced with the prospect of dropping an expensive Yellow Pages listing but worried about customers not finding him if they have a burst pipe or a misfiring shower head. Scott recommends the plumber post a list of “the 100 home fixes for common plumbing problems.”

“All of a sudden you are going to get indexed very highly in the search engines, and people are going to share that content with their friends,” he says. “When someone puts an update on Facebook asking if anyone knows a good plumber in Boston, a friend might point to your content.”

5. Use blogging to drive search results and help new customers find you. Lately, blogging has gained greater attention, with the advent of “micro-blogging” on Twitter. But consider the time commitment and strategy before launching an account.

Even with the spread of micro-blogging, Abraham remains a big fan of traditional blogs, which are lengthier and show up on Web sites. In general, no matter what form the blog takes, it should be consistent over time.

“If you can’t keep up one (blog) post a day or 12 tweets a day, do one tweet every Thursday. Consistency in blogging or tweeting will create a relationship of trust with your followers or readers. Do it once a week, but for the next two years,” Abraham says.

And don’t spend extra money on blogging software, technical help, or a ghost writer for your blog.  To get started, sign up with WordPress.com or Blogger – both are free blogging platforms which are easy to use for beginners.

Additional opportunities within the social media environment include:  online radio shows on platforms such as BlogTalkRadio, social networking sites such as LinkedIN, Plaxo, and FriendFeed, and a wide variety of additional tools as well depending on your type of business.

Following these social media basics for small business will get your company started on the right road to gaining new customers and increased revenue via social media.

If after completing this article you’re still not certain what your company’s social media strategy should be, we would be happy to aid you in it’s development – and implementation if you would like.  Please feel free to contact us via our website or via email at linda@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com to schedule a FREE initial consultation.

Time to Begin Planning Mobile Strategies to Aid Holiday Sales July 11, 2009

Posted by StrategicGrowth in Marketing Plan, mobile, Mobile Marketing, Strategic Growth Concepts.
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By Mickey Alam Khan, July 6, 2009

It’s only three months before mobile can expect to play a significant role in searching and shopping for the holidays. Marketers, agencies and vendors should gear up for the traffic and the expectations.

As is customary, marketers are already working on lists for catalog, direct mail, insert media and email drops for the holidays, along with planning print, television, radio and online buys for those with the budget. Mobile should now be included in that media mix.

First it is key to understand mobile’s role in the holidays. It certainly won’t supplant ecommerce or the wired Web. It won’t take away from print, TV or radio’s branding strengths. And it won’t compete with the catalog, mailer, insert or email.

SMS msg on cell in hand - verticalInstead, mobile will give legs to those channels, through mobile advertising, mobile marketing and mobile commerce.

Long on short codes
Let’s start with catalogs.

Each catalog invites users to shop via phone, mail or by entering a SKU number on the brand’s Web site. Perhaps it would be wise to add a keyword and common short code on each catalog, inviting recipients to text and opt in to the loyalty program for alerts of new deals, shipping incentives or discounts during the holidays.

A similar effort with targeted direct mail and inserts – unique keyword and short code – can actually track the piece’s efficacy in case the customer or prospect responds to the call to action.

Mentioning a keyword and short code on marketing and retail email newsletters can also encourage enrollment into the overall loyalty program with the mobile number.

Adding SMS to print, TV and radio will help track the effectiveness of print and broadcast advertising at a time when the sales pitches are at their shrillest. After all, the holidays are the annual Olympics for retail and marketing.

It’s as simple as that: a keyword and short code. But start preparing now. Wireless carriers take their own sweet time approving SMS programs, and with new requirements in place, marketers have to provide every detail about their planned campaigns.

What the carriers don’t want – and certainly will prevent at all costs – is a collapse of their network due to a deluge of commercial SMS messages. Nor do they want to be accused of spam, even if it’s a perception issue.

At any rate, expect holidays 2009 to set a record for holiday-oriented SMS messages exchanged between brand and consumer.

Site to see
Another holiday marketing tool that requires immediate attention is a mobile or mobile-friendly Web site.

With the falling costs of creating a mobile site and the plethora of plug-and-play services out there, retailers and marketers have little excuse to dither on creating a mobile Web presence targeting consumers on the go.

What would consumers on the go like from their favorite brands’ mobile site? Several functionalities including a search engine for merchandise, store locator, gift-finder tool, list of best-sellers and prices, sales promotions, SMS signup, package tracker and, in some cases, the ability to buy from that site.

Smart mobile sites will also include the click-to-call functionality, linking the shopper to the pertinent store.

Obviously most of these functions would work well only on sites customized for smartphones. But it’s a necessary first step to create user-friendly mobile sites for the iPhone, BlackBerry, Palm Pre and more sophisticated HTC, LG, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Motorola and Nokia phone models.

A smart accompaniment to the mobile site is the mobile application incorporating some, if not all, the functionality available on the marketer or retailer’s mobile site.

Brands can use their store marketing or other channels such as mail, catalog, print, email or broadcast ads to urge consumers to download their app from the pertinent app store.

Make sure the app is compelling if it is not to be deleted within days of download. Occupying valuable screen real estate on, say, an iPhone, BlackBerry or Palm Pre, is a branding privilege that should not be abused.

Ads up
That takes care of the merchandising and mobile marketing sides of mobile. How about mobile advertising?

Well, now’s the time to make smart buys across leading media sites.

Brands such as Polo Ralph Lauren, Tiffany and Cartier as well as Walmart and Target should be locking up deals with trusted publications including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. They should lock in key positions for their ads to run on those publications’ mobile sites.

These brands can also strike deals with magazine publishers such as Time Inc. or Hearst to incorporate mobile into their multichannel media buys. Mobile ads can run not only with the publishers’ sites but also within their apps as part of sponsorship deals.

All mobile ads, once clicked on, will link to special landing pages with the desired call to action or to the mobile site. As simple as that. It’s been done on the wired Web and there’s no reason why it can’t be replicated on mobile.

Look, it’s very simple: When one in 10 working-age Americans is out of work, when the nation’s mood swings between optimism and pessimism, when the national savings rate is going up, the only way that marketers will get consumers to spend is through marketing and its desired end – creation of desire.

These ideas are basic and require little effort but consultation and working with the brand’s agency or mobile marketing firm. The time has come for brands to recognize that if they want the holiday merchandise to move, they must be as mobile as their customers and prospects. Call now.

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Should you be interested in learning more about mobile marketing and how it can help grow your business, please review the mobile section of our website, additional mobile marketing articles within this blog, or contact us directly via the website or email at info@strategicgrowthconcepts.com for a FREE initial consultation.

Top 5 Twitter Analytical Tools July 9, 2009

Posted by StrategicGrowth in Social Media, Strategic Growth Concepts, Twitter, Web 2.0.
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As every marketer knows, if a marketing strategy is worth implementing, it’s worth measuring.  That includes social media strategies in spite of the fact that there is currently no cost involved in utilizing them.  It is still to your benefit to analyze the exposure that they are providing to your firm.  To help you in this endeavor, here is an excellent article that provides access to very useful tools to help you evaluate your company’s use of Twitter.  Check them out for yourself; you might be surprised at all the information they can provide you!

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by Ron Calleri, InventorSpot.com

What kind of footprint have you made in the Twitterverse? Do you know your Twitter ROI, your Twitter influence or stats that determine your Twitter psychographics? In the social media world, this data is becoming easier and easier to access as new analytical tools become available… and now you can track it.

Twitter Analysis Tools graphicBecoming more and more significant, social networking analytics will be used by companies to determine what type of consumer you are, and by prospective employees to consider you for hire. As a modernized version of the Kevin Bacon paradigm, social media has reduced our ‘connectivity to others’ from 6 to 3 degrees.

Most Twitter users are seeking exposure. Whether that reach is to sell a product or oneself, it’s up to the user. How they perform on Twitter to meet that goal will determine brand advocacy. The ones that work to perfect relationships and loyalty will thrive, while those that fall short of this goal tend to lose interest and drop off. One needs to know the value of the Twitter resource and the investment of time that is required to become a successful member of the Twitterverse.  

Similar to our every day lives, if one focuses on creating value, building transparency and becoming  authentic, the greater chance one has in making an impact on Twitter. I relate these personality traits to our newly elected president Barack Obama. He embodies these characteristics and could be the reason he was elected to highest office in the land  (also see previous blog that discusses Obama’s use of social networking)

So social networking analytics are the tools to both qualify and quantify our worth. Here, I have selected what I feel are the top five analytical tools that are available to us today. They will help us determine various aspects of our Twitter make-ups. Not totally perfected and some are still in beta format, I suggest you explore these tools to best analyze your brand and the value and reach of your tweets.

1) TwitterAnalyzer    
TwitterAnalyzer is one of the most comprehensive Twitter analyzer toolsTwitter Analyzer graphic out there. It tracks followers who are online when you are, number of readers that have been exposed to your message, your tweet habits, who is retweeting your updates, twitter follow statistics, growth rates, conversations being made about you, the size of your audience and your followers’ demographics. It will let you research the way your fellow tweeps behave. It will surface which messages they answer and which ones they paid attention to, drilling down to their occupations and which users and are in your line of work.

2) TwInfluence
TwInfluence is a  tool for measuring the combined influence of your Twitter account and followers, and then assessing your reach through the quality of Twinfluence graphicyour followers. Since all users and all followers are not created equal, this analysis will determine the “horizon of communication” that extends beyond your own direct contacts. This is demonstrated whenever somebody “retweets” your message and its influence begins to create ripple effect throughout the Twitterverse. TwInfluence uncovers one’s reach, elocity and social capital, and its worth the time to spend with this tool to learn how these components interact.

3) TweetStats
TweetStats will graph your total tweets by the month, by the day, and by the hour. It also tells you your number of @replies and which interface you used to Twitter your tweets. By calculating the volume of your tweets andTweetstats graphic retweets it quantifies your tweet density. Most people who say they get no value from Twitter should first look at their usage and consistency to realistically evaluate what they have invested in Twitter before they consider the results. This tool also allows you to spy on others or those that have amassed Twitterati fame, as long as you know their Twitter handle.

4) Twitter Grader
Twitter Grader graphicTwitter Grader is another third party app which calculates a grade for a particular twitter on a scale of 0-100. It will show you your ranking in your city, state, and country. It will also show you active and influential Twitter users that you may want to follow. The Tweet Cloud indicates the frequent user words in your Tweets with the most commonly used in larger print. This is very beneficial because its a quick overview of your content.In addition to the TwitterGrader, Hubspot also has a Facebook Grader, Website Grader and Press Release Grader that you should check out as well, if those stats are important to you.

5) TweetPsych
Still in Beta, TweetPsych is a work in progress. Its purpose is to build a psychological profile of a person based on the content of their Tweets. It compares the content of a user’s Tweets to a baseline reading that was built by analyzing an ever-expanding group of over 1.5 million random Tweets, and then highlighting areas where the user stands out. Dan Zarella,the developer behind TweetsPsych continues to expand his set of psychologicalTweetpsych graphic definitions, while also refining the system and its algorithm to better analyze Twitter-specific content.

Dan feels TweetPsych has great potential in matching like-minded users to identifying users that exhibit certain useful or desirable traits. He is asking users to provide him with feedback to improve the system and the technology and take TweetPsych to the next level. Check it out and report back to Dan.

Since all of these tools are free, I suggest taking them all out for a test drive to determine which ones work the best for you. In helping you qualify and quantify your Twitter efforts you can better define your goals. Sometimes, we get so caught up in what we are getting out of something that we often forget to look at we are putting into it. Are you worth following, do you create value for your Twitter followers? Are you an observer or an active participant that is part of a collaborative community? All these questions and more can be better assessed with the assistance of some or all of these tools.

If you honestly look at what you are investing in Twitter and continue to apply an analytical eye, you will slowly begin to benefit from the output and the fruits of your labor.

Popeye’s mobile campaign garners 54 percent opt-in July 3, 2009

Posted by StrategicGrowth in mobile, Mobile Marketing, Strategic Growth Concepts.
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By Giselle Tsirulnik, June 30, 2009

Popeyes chicken

Popeye’s mobile coupon campaign that promotes the fast food chain’s three-piece chicken dinner has achieved a 54 percent double opt-in.

Popeye'sCox Media is running television spots in Wichita, KS, encouraging consumers to text the keyword POPEYES to short code 74642. Ping Mobile powered the campaign. Already 750 consumers have texted and more than 50 percent have opted in for future communications from Popeye’s.

“This type of mobile advertising campaign was a perfect fit for the Popeye’s stores in Wichita,” said Mike Orr, account executive at Cox Media.

“With the ability to directly engage clients with coupons and offers that provide the client with detailed feedback of what day of the week as well as what time of day that a response was generated from a product placed ad is a tremendous validation of return on investment,” he said.

Consumers that texted in received a message that said, “Show this msg at Popeye’s Chicken & get a FREE 2PC DINNER with ur purchase of a 3 pc dinner & medium drink. Hurry into Popeye’s TODAY offer ends 7/31/09.”

Then consumers are asked whether they would like to join to receive future communications from Popeye’s.

The message says, “Reply YES to join the Popeye’s Chicken VIP Club! U’ll get MORE Xclusive offers just like this one right 2 ur phone! Mx3msg/mo. Std txt rts apply. Reply YES now!”

Consumers that join the Popeye’s mobile VIP Club get the following message, “Success! UR in! To quit txt STOP@anytime. Don’t keep the savings to yourself – tell your family and friends to get in on it too by texting POPEYES to 269411!”

“The strategy for this client was to find a unique and fresh way of promoting their three piece dinner- combining a great promotional offer, with a spontaneous and convenient method of redemption,” said Shira Simmonds, president of Popeye’s mobile service provider.

The results of this campaign show how positive an impact mobile marketing has had on the Popeye’s promotion.

Ms. Simmonds also said that the challenge for Popeye’s was using a newer medium while retaining the traditionalism and authenticity of its brand.

In addition, Popeye’s was faced with finding a way of integrating mobile into their redemption solutions.

Mobile was a perfect tool for the Popeye’s brand because it enabled them to reach out to their target demographic (families) via a medium that is not only accessible to them, but also one that is their most personal and convenient device.

Popeye’s also made sure that the offer was relevant and appealing to the target – a mobile coupon for a discount on dinner provides added-value to families in a time of economic uncertainty.

The fast food chain is distributing its mobile coupons via other avenues as well, including a mobile couponing campaign offering free two-piece chicken dinners (see story).

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While results of 54% opt-in are certainly not standard for mobile marketing, the results ARE typically much higher than most traditional forms of marketing.  Results of 10 – 15% are fairly standard, though many mobile campaigns have achieved a response rate as high as 30%, compared to direct mail which typically results in a 2 – 3% response rate.

Should you be interested in learning more about mobile marketing and how it can help grow your business, please review the mobile section of our website, mobile marketing articles within this blog, or contact us directly via the website or email at info@strategicgrowthconcepts.com for a FREE initial consultation.

Hispanics Online: Young, Mobile and Bilingual July 3, 2009

Posted by StrategicGrowth in Web 2.0.
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The US Hispanic Internet population is growing—in numbers, broadband connections and time spent online. eMarketer estimates that this year there will be nearly 23 million Hispanics online, over 50% of the US Hispanic population.The Hispanics Online report analyzes the trends driving the growth of this young, mobile and vibrant population.

Hispanics make up 12.3% of the US Internet population in 2009, and will increase to 13.9% in 2013.

Like its offline counterpart, this group of Internet users is young—63% are under age 35—and mobile. Some 81% of Hispanics own a cellphone, and for 25% of these adults, their mobile is their primary phone. They use phone features, including Internet access, at higher rates than other mobile subscribers.

Many marketers and online publishers are creating campaigns and Websites in English and Spanish, to reach an audience that switches between languages and cultures.

Mobile Marketing Campaigns to Inspire Ideas for Your Company July 1, 2009

Posted by StrategicGrowth in mobile, Mobile Marketing, Strategic Growth Concepts.
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Below for your review are case studies of recent mobile marketing campaigns implemented by several well known brands.  Items of note in these campaigns are:

  • the integration with other aspects of their marketing program
  • the results tracking and analysis
  • the multi-faceted mobile approach that the firm’s utilized to maximize the marketing capabilities being presented to marketer’s today

As you read the article, consider the specific tactics being utilized and how they might be translated to benefit your business.   Should you be interested in learning more about mobile marketing and how it can help grow your business, please review the mobile section of our website, mobile marketing articles within this blog, or contact us directly via the website or email at info@strategicgrowthconcepts.com for a FREE initial consultation.

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David’s Bridal Takes Prom Dreams Mobile

Brian Quinton, June 10th, 2009

davids-bridal-prom-mobile-web.jpgI’ve just received congratulations on my successful high school graduation and been asked to share my memories of the senior prom. It’s a bit hard to think myself back to those days—to give a hint, the song for the graduating class of Manhasset High was that new hit “Bridge over Troubled Water”—but for the folks at David’s Bridal, I’ll try.

Of course, I’m probably not the target for their recent mobile marketing campaign built around high school prom-goers. I simply signed into the marketing initiative in early May because it struck me as a well integrated, easily understood campaign that promised some benefits to the user while raising awareness and driving traffic for the company’s Web site and its 300 retail shops—exactly what mobile seems to be able to do well, and quickly.

Basically, girls thinking about the prom as far back as last February were targeted with print ads that induced them to text the keyword “PROM” to a short code to get content on their cell phones.

But that content went beyond a simple brand awareness message about David’s gown inventory. Recipients were asked to connect via their phones to a mobile Web site, http://m.davidsprom.com, and to vote for their favorite among five prom dress styles, from classic and dramatic to exotic and fashionista. Participants whose phones couldn’t connect to the Internet were able to respond to the e-mail and get the pictures sent to them directly.

Asking users to choose among several options accomplished a few goals. First and foremost, it got users actively involved—always a good thing. Besides making their own choices, they could also forward either the e-mail with the pics or the mobile Web itself site to their friends.

In addition, the results of the voting gave David’s some early-season merchandising insight about what styles and categories were likely to be popular once buying began.

“David’s Bridal was able to gain access to insight that would not otherwise have been available until they were in the middle of the season. They very successfully polled the tastes of their customers going into the season. That gives them the ability to react and confirm their marketing mix.”

(Just to relieve the suspense, prom “classic” was the big style winner by far. I didn’t vote, since my own prom choice—a chocolate brown tux with flared pants and lapels the size of the tailfins on a ’59 Cadillac—wasn’t an option.)

Their mobile services provider was confident that mobile marketing in general would be an effective approach to the target audience of girls 13 to 17, but the provider wanted to make sure that the campaign’s impact would be felt to the fullest extent and in the easiest way for the consumer. That’s why it provided both an SMS option and a mobile Web site.

“Teenagers all text—that’s what they do. Research shows the average teen sends out over 1,800 text messages a month, compared to about 500 a month for the general population. But we had to allow for different messaging plans and accommodate both teens who could accept picture messaging on their phones, because that’s often an option or a service upgrade, and those who didn’t. We let those users click to the WAP [wireless application protocol] site to view the styles.

That kind of flexible approach is key to designing a strong mobile experience. Marketers have to be prepared to launch a broad campaign that gives the best possible experience over a range of phones with differences from screen sizes to functionalities. And they shouldn’t make too many assumptions about how their campaign will look at the other end of the receiver.

For example, the iPhone is one of the most popular handsets among the teen demographic, with a 24% intent to buy in the next six months, however right now iPhones can’t accept multimedia messages, a/k/a picture messaging. That function should come with a software update later this summer. But for now, simply assuming that you’re sending your campaign to a lot of high-end phones still requires some extra spadework to produce a high-end experience for the user.

That was one reason behind providing a specific mobile site for the campaign. David’s Bridal also had a prom-centric standard Web site and in fact promoted sign-ups for the mobile campaign at that site starting in late February. And of course iPhone users could reach that site without issues. But a full-featured Web site like that would take a long time to download to even a smartphone and might not work properly or easily once it did.

So the mobile services provider built out a David’s Prom site optimized specifically for mobile. If you’ve never seen one of these laid out, they look like a string of separate panes in a line rather than the usual single Web page with a number of modules. Time was, each pane would have to include navigation tools so users could click to the next one, usually positioned at the top so they were accessible even if the bottom was cut off by the phone’s frame. Now enough people have either scroll wheels on their phones or touch screen capabilities that those tools don’t need to take up valuable screen real estate.

Mobile sites also offer stripped-down functionality compared to a standard Web site. For example, the David’s Prom mobile site didn’t offer the video clips, product search or e-commerce options available at the main Web site: just photos of the dresses in the five categories, a link within each category to see a second dress sample, the DBprom.com URL and the “Forward to a Friend” link.

The mobile services provider did make sure to provide one function at the mobile site, however: a store finder that let users get locations and store operating hours by inputting their ZIP codes. Mobile users who responded to the gown vote via SMS were also sent a thank-you note that allowed them to text in their ZIP to get the address of the nearest David’s Bridal—making the mobile channel to drive in-store traffic.

Ubiquity is one virtue of mobile, of course; users are likely to have their phones available whether they’re home or out in the world. So making it easy to find a nearby outlet for something you’re already interested in buying or browsing can make a campaign that much more effective. In this case, per the mobile services provider, the mobile store locator saw heavy use—one indication the message was reaching an audience who were already heavily in-market.

(Of course, ZIP codes only work when you know them. Notifying customers of nearby stores when they’re off their home turf and may not know the ZIP code they’re in will have to wait until GPS phones are more plentiful—and may require a specific opt-in even then.)

What about metrics? The mobile services provider offers the standard measurements associated with a Web site, of course. In terms of measuring the effect of SMS, it can keep track of the delivery rate to the carrier networks and the number of “unsubscribes” received; and since mobile churn is a fact of life, the carriers report on the number of recipients who have moved over to other networks since opting in to messaging.

Unlike e-mail, SMS currently does not offer a technology to track the message open rate. But research studies suggest as many as 80% of recipients open the text messages they receive—and since many mobile users set a tone for incoming texts, many open those messages almost as they come in.

“Depending on the network, the bulk of the text message may show up in a preview pane without the user doing anything,” he says. “That tends to increase the likelihood that someone will open a message they’re interested in.”

 

Kodak mobile advertising campaign sees 1.7 percent CTR

By Dan Butcher, June 11, 2009

Kodak turns to mobile for rebranding effort: MMF kThe Kodak Gallery iPhone app

Kodak executives wanted to increase the customer base of the brand’s Kodak Express photo processing outlets in India, so they turned to mobile advertising.

The company conducted a month-long mobile advertising campaign based on an opt-in survey and a call-to-action to visit its Kodak Express outlets. To incentivize participation, Kodak offered prizes to those who entered such as a 2GB iPod Nano or a 1GB memory card. 

“The mobile campaign was a sort of experiment—promoting Kodak to people with camera phones. The goals were to increase footfalls to the Kodak Express outlets in India and to consolidate user profile and behavior understanding from Kodak Express users.”

Kodak is a leading global provider of conventional, digital and blended photo print production environments, with a brand that is recognized worldwide. 

Faced with a crisis of epic proportions—the death of film and the rise of digital photography—Kodak has shifted its strategy to mobile (see story).

Kodak turns to mobile for rebranding effort: MMF kKodak has embraced the camera phone and its marketing applications

Kodak Express outlets, located in cities worldwide, are a one-stop destination for photo printing, products and accessories, as well as photo customization and personalization.

Kodak executives, seeking ways to both increase foot traffic to stores in India and gather and consolidate user profile and preference information from Kodak Express customers, decided that a mobile advertising campaign would be the best option for getting maximum results for their ad spend.

The goals of the mobile campaign were to create awareness of Kodak Express, drive foot traffic and gather information about its customers’ desires and preferences via the survey.

Kodak mobile advertising campaign sees 1.7 percentA Kodak mobile ad

Kodak ran both text and banner advertisements and target its campaign broadly to men and women between 15 and 40 years-of-age throughout India, with no specific city or regional targeting.

For its mobile ads, Kodak went with simple, concise messages: “Kodak Express Shoot It Win It!” and “Print them now. Win them now!”

As an incentive for completing the survey, the company devised a contest that required users to make 50 prints at a Kodak Express outlet from a digital camera or camera phone.

Once potential customers completed the survey, they were entered into a drawing to win a 2GB iPod Nano or a 1GB memory card.

In order to complete their contest entries, they were prompted to enter their name, mobile number and camera capacity.

They were then redirected to the nearest Kodak Express outlet to complete the process by ordering the 50 prints. 

The results were impressive, and serve as an example of how creative, targeted mobile advertising can give companies a cost-effective boost to their sales and marketing efforts.

In one month, the campaign generated 11 million visits to the survey landing page, with a click through rate of 1.7 percent.

But beyond the numbers, Kodak gathered important information for future interaction with its customers through the survey component.

The Kodak team also gathered mobile numbers it could use for future SMS marketing, and was able to gather information about its customers’ camera capacities and functionality so it could better serve them in the future.

The advantages of mobile for the campaign were clear. Usage of the Internet on mobile phones is huge in India.

At the end of last year, there were more than 346 million Indian wireless subscribers and the market was growing by approximately 10 million new subscribers per month.

Much of the growth of the mobile Internet in India follows a trend we have seen in many countries throughout the world, where the mobile Web is used as a primary Internet connection by people who otherwise do not have access to a PC at home. 

That said, mobile advertising has several other significant attributes that made it an advantageous choice for Kodak.

Most importantly, mobile is a more active medium than other options, according to Kodak’s mobile services provider. 

Even though many people use the mobile Internet while at home or work, mobile still has perhaps the strongest call-to-action component of any type of advertising available, because it makes information literally accessible at the touch of a button, significantly narrowing the gap between the marketing message and action on the part of the consumer.

This attribute fit perfectly with Kodak’s desire to increase traffic to its Kodak Express stores.

Particularly important to Kodak was the fact that the selected mobile services provider’s network is global, and the company has experience serving the Indian market.

In fact, the Indian market is currently No. 2 in total mobile advertising page views generated though their network.

Kodak had the ability to target ads by geography, makes and capabilities of handsets, as well as more specific demographics like age and interests.

Kodak decided to target mobile Internet users in the “Community, Entertainment and Lifestyle,” “Information,” “Mobile Content (news and related content)” and “Search/Portal Services” categories.

Additionally, the providers network allowed Kodak to use different types of mobile ads and implement a mobile survey that would allow it to gather information from consumers.

Kodak wanted to attract a broad range of potential customers, which was reflected by its tactical approach to the campaign.

There were a couple of distinct takeaways from the campaign that advertisers can take to heart.

The first is that engaging potential customers in a multi-faceted mobile marketing experience is essential for strong results, according to mobile provider.

In this case, contact with the Kodak brand started with the banner ad, which redirected customers to a landing page that let them take the survey, enter the contest, prompted them to find the nearest Kodak Express outlet from the “store locator” and finally encouraged mobile Web users to become customers—thus completing the cycle of customer engagement.

The second lesson is comparatively simple but no less important: Use clear, straight-forward marketing messages—a particularly important piece to mobile marketing campaigns because of the inherent limitations of the screen size.

The results validate the strength of mobile advertising’s value proposition and its potential, if well executed, to help brands achieve an unprecedented level of bang for the advertising buck, according to the mobile service provider. 

 

HarperCollins launches mobile marketing strategy

Publishing firm Harper Collins is using mobile marketing techniques to promote one of its new books.

Smartphone users will be given the chance to access content related to Lauren Conrad’s upcoming novel L.A. Candy by scanning a 2D barcode on the sleeve with their handset.

Mobile phone users who do not have a copy of the book to hand can also access the content directly through a dedicated mobile internet portal, as well as through a special downloadable application.

Susan Katz, head of HarperCollins Children’s Books, said this form of viral marketing is likely to appeal to young people in particular.

She commented: “Teens use their mobile phones for everything.

“This is one more way we can offer them content to share with their friends.”

This comes after the Mobile Marketing Association predicted that spending on advertising through the mobile channel will go up by more than a quarter across the world during 2009.

 

Burger King enters mobile commerce full-throttle

By Giselle Tsirulnik, June 15, 2009

Burger King enters mobile commerce full-throttleTaking a big bite of mobile commerce

Fast-food giant Burger King has entered the mobile commerce arena by letting consumers place orders and pay for them their iPhone. Now that’s fast food.

The Burger King NOW location-aware iPhone application is currently being tested in the Queens, New York, area.

“The idea of the iPhone app is to go the full nine yards with a rich mobile ordering platform,” said the CEO of their mobile services provider. “This is the first case study that we have done with an iPhone application and we expect to launch these types of applications for other quick-serve restaurants we are working with.”

 The selected mobile services provider helps fast-food and restaurant chains mobilize their services via mobile Web sites, and now through iPhone apps as well. Other clients include Subway and Dunkin’ Donuts.

Burger King, the nation’s No. 2 burger-and-fries chain after McDonald’s Corp., has been known for its innovation with new technology, including its highly viral Subservient Chicken online viral marketing campaign earlier in the decade. Ordering and paying through the iPhone application is part of that DNA.

Burger King enters mobile commerce full-throttleRestaurant locator

The iPhone’s GPS functionality lets users skip the step of entering in an address into the app. Instead it automatically finds the Burger King location closest to them.

When users place their order and come in to pick it up, they can skip the line and just grab their food, since they have paid for it via the app.

The application also tracks and saves order history and then acts as a loyalty card by offering incentives and deals. 

Burger King enters mobile commerce full-throttleCustomize your meal

The goal behind this application is to drive incremental same-store sales – a key metric for the restaurant industry. To date, orders placed via the application have been 25 percent larger than in-store.

When customers start using the service, they increase their frequency of visits by 42 percent and the mobile offering takes existing loyal customers and increases their value by 75 percent.

The application is helping Burger King drive additional sales, since new customers can discover the stores near them that they may have not known about previously.

In terms of security, the application is fully secure. So, customers don’t have to worry about their credit card information being misused.

Also, the information is stored within the application, so that it doesn’t need to be re-entered each time the customer places an order.

When picking up their food, customers just need to give the last four digits of their mobile number, to confirm they are in fact the person that placed the order.

Also, their mobile services provider made it possible for the application to remember the phone ID and allowed it to pull GPS information.

“Traditionally QSRs have focused on the four walls concept, which means doing marketing within the four walls of the restaurant. They focused on what could be done in-store to make sure that patrons come back.”

“The mobile device allows them to extend where transactions take place and let customers make transactions from anywhere, therefore extending those four walls to the consumer’s hands.  It is also a much more efficient way of taking an order and the payment.”