jump to navigation

BP Oil Spill Driving Increased Awareness of QR Codes August 1, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in marketing strategies, mobile, Mobile Marketing, Strategic Growth Concepts.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
2 comments

Just like donations to Haiti were the driving impetus to making text messaging mainstream in consumer consciousness, it appears that BP oil disaster recovery efforts may have the same affect on QR codes.

Read the following,  QR Codes To The Rescue In The Gulf To Address The BP Oil Spill, for an excellent story on efforts being implemented as part of the ‘Be the One’ campaign that includes the participation of such celebrities as:  Sandra Bullock, Lenny Kravitz, Dave Matthews, John Goodman, Drew Brees, Eli Manning and many others.  The effort is being helped in a ‘big’ way by Reuters.  It should be noted that there has recently been some controversy indicating that BP Oil itself may be behind the campaign, and stories are circulating that Sandra Bullock has pulled her support.  However, the controversy has seemed to increase the awareness of the campaign, and it is our opinion that it likely to spur even greater awareness of QR codes as a result.

We at Strategic Growth Concepts believe that if this campaign achieves the level of awareness that the Haiti campaign did, it will go a long way toward not only helping the Gulf communities, but also toward making QR codes high on the radar of advertisers looking for highly effective, cost-efficient ways of reaching consumers with their message.

If reading this article makes you see the opportunities presented by QR codes and would like to explore this technology to promote your business, please contact us for assistance via our website or email at info@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com.

____________________________________________________________

The author, Linda Daichendt, is Founder, CEO and Managing Consultant for Strategic Growth Concepts, a marketing / management consulting firm focused on start-up, small and mid-sized businesses.  Areas of specialization include:  Mobile Marketing, Social Media Marketing, and Virtual Events production.  Linda is a recognized small business marketing expert with 20+ years of experience in a wide variety of industries. 

Linda is available for consultation on Mobile Marketing and other topics, and can be contacted at Linda@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com.  The company website can be viewed at www.StrategicGrowthConcepts.com .  For more information on Mobile Marketing please visit the Mobile Marketing section of the Strategic Growth Concepts website.

Mobile Integrated Into Marketing Strategy = Success & Increased Revenue, Part V June 13, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in marketing strategies, mobile, Mobile Marketing, Strategic Growth Concepts.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

Part V – The Etiquette and Legalities of Mobile Marketing

Those that have been following our multi-part series on Mobile Marketing know that so far in our series we have covered:

In Part V we’re going to examine Mobile Marketing Etiquette and the Legalities involved in utilizing Mobile as part of your marketing strategy.  As we review these two issues, you will begin to see how closely related they are in affecting the way in which a company implements a Mobile campaign.

There are two things that make Mobile Marketing extremely effective:

  1. Mobile is direct one-on-one communication with a targeted customer
  2. The person receiving the message must have already ‘opted-in’ to receive messages from you, therefore, they are receptive to receiving the messages you send them which will typically increase the message’s effectiveness.

In order to insure that the best things about Mobile Marketing are not abused, it is imperative for companies utilizing Mobile to adhere to the guidelines and industry standards that have been developed and are strictly enforced.  This information can be found in the M-SPAM Act of 2009 and the Mobile Marketing Association’s (MMA’s) Best Practices Guidelines.  Adherence to these policies not only helps you avoid legal issues and huge fines, but it also helps you maintain the trust and loyalty of your customers.  To help you understand the importance of this, let’s examine the cases of some companies who forgot.

Case #1

A 2009 article by Adam Broitman in iMedia Connection, details the case of a wireless carrier who forgot to follow the rules they helped draft.

“Recently, AT&T sent out text messages to a large number of its 75 million customers. The message was a promotion for “American Idol,” a show that AT&T sponsors. (The company also plays a key role in the show, as only AT&T customers can vote for their favorite singers via text message.) Many of the mobile customers had not opted in to get this text, and the Twittersphere was, well, all atwitter!

Have a look at some of the conversation:

Sure, Twitter has been known, at times, to have a bit of a mob mentality. But in this case, it is apparent that these people were angry, and the ripples that began on Twitter created waves across the web.”, Broitman states.

While legally AT&T was allowed to do what they did (the M-Spam Act allows carriers to send messages to their subscribers), they lost a great deal of trust from those subscribers who had never agreed to receive messages about American Idol from them and they probably lost a great many future subscribers who didn’t want to be subjected to such practices.

Case #2

In a 2007 Mobivity blog posting by Greg Harris, Greg tells us the story of another extremely credible brand that didn’t adhere to industry best practices when communicating with those who have ‘opted-in’ to their mobile list.  Here’s Greg’s story:

“SPAM has all but killed email marketing, and has made the acceptance of mobile marketing more difficult to both the marketers, and the consumer. On a daily basis we have to win over customers, and explain that SMS and mobile marketing will not have the same problems as email. We explain how the carriers have control of what is sent over their networks, and about the MMA Code of Conduct.

And then a reputable company comes along and does something stupid that sends us a step back.

I just read a post on Greg Verdino’s marketing blog that just made me shake my head in wonder. Apparently Fast Company, a well known brand, took what could have been a great idea and ruined it for all of us.

According to Greg Verdino:

I was reading a great article about authentic business and marketing in this month’s Fast Company .  A sidebar invited me to (and here I quote) “Text In, Get Real.  For exclusive tips on what it takes to be authentic, text the word BACKSTORY to 30364 from your mobile device.”

So I did, and immediately received a WAP push pointing to some good content that complemented the piece in the magazine.

But here’s where it went wrong.  I also received a text message informing me that I was now subscribed to Fast Company’s monthly mobile alert program.  The problem is that neither the magazine sidebar nor the related webpage make any mention of the monthly subscription.  And I simply wanted this month’s content, not an on-going mobile alerts subscription.

One thing that we make clear to our customers is that if you are putting someone on a list, you must let them know. I’m not sure how Fast Company missed that. Just because someone sent in a text message to get the local weather, doesn’t mean you can send them offers and follow-up messages.

Give the consumer a reason to opt-in and you have built a mutual relationship. Provide them something of value, and in return they will let you send them messages once in a while. Don’t just assume that because they requested something from you once that you can now contact them at your convenience.

As Greg puts it:

If I invited you to dinner once, would you invite yourself to show up on the third Thursday of every month to eat again, forever or until I told you to stop coming?  I hope not…

Well said! ”

And Greg is right.

So let’s be clear, the rules of mobile are really not all that complicated, and they’re really not that hard to follow with a little strategic planning.  To help you have a clear picture of the guidelines that are imperative for you to follow, here is a list provided by Mobile expert, Kim Dushinski, author of The Mobile Marketing Handbook:

  • ALWAYS GET EXPLICIT PERMISSION
  • Opt customers in
  • Tell them specifically what they are ‘opting-in’ to
  • Give customers the option to ‘opt-out’ in every message
  • No false advertising
  • Never use a third party list – PERIOD
  • Never hold a contest or sweepstakes without legal advice
  • Never collect data on anyone under 13 years of age
  • Never use the word FREE unless everything is 100% free in the campaign
  • Follow MMA’s Best Practices Guidelines

You see, it’s really not that difficult.  However, if you don’t have a clear understanding of the right way to proceed with Mobile Marketing for your company, then you should hire the expertise of those who do understand it in order to prevent your firm from experiencing such consequences as:

  • Lost trust of customers
  • Loss of your short code access
  • Lawsuits
  • Significant fines

I should state for clarity’s sake that I was driven to explore this particular aspect of Mobile Marketing as part of this series as the result of a recent conversation with a business associate.  We had a meeting where I was explaining the concept of Mobile Marketing, its value, and how it should be used.  When I’d finished, my associate relayed to me a recent experience she’d had with a national retailer and their use of Mobile, it was not a positive experience.

Apparently this national retailer had set up a program within their stores designed to obtain ‘opt-ins’ for their Mobile list.  They had signage throughout the store offering customers an immediate purchase discount if they provided their cell number to be added to the chain’s ‘opt-in’ list. When my associate hesitated to give the number because the clerk could not provide clear information on how the phone number would be used, who would have access to it, what type of messages would be received, and how often, the clerk became quite agitated and said, “Well if you want the discount you have to give me the number, otherwise you don’t get it”.

So, based on what you’ve learned in this article, what are some of the problems you heard in this story? Here’s what I heard:

  • The store’s signage did not in any way clarify how the cell phone number would be used, ie:  how often customers would receive messages, the store’s privacy policy, what type of messages would be received, etc.
  • The store’s staff had not been educated about the details of the mobile campaign and was unable to answer the most basic customer questions about the promotion.
  • The store’s clerk needed an education in appropriate customer service behavior; his response to my associate means that not only did the Mobile campaign not work as it was intended, but in fact it caused the chain significant harm as I know for certain that I am not the only person who heard the story from this individual (and we who heard it directly know the name of the retailer).  I know for me personally, it’s unlikely I’ll be visiting them anytime soon, and I’m guessing others who have heard the story probably feel the same!

So, the moral of the story is this, Mobile Marketing is an EXCEPTIONAL and effective method of marketing, however, it requires you to do your homework and plan the details of an effective marketing strategy.  “Cross the T’s, dot the I’s”, and make sure you are adhering to the appropriate standards in implementing your Mobile campaign.  And if you don’t feel confident of your ability to do it on your own, hire an expert to assist you.  And then, sit back and reap the reward of a Mobile Marketing job well done!

____________________________________________________________________________

The author, Linda Daichendt, is Founder, CEO and Managing Consultant for Strategic Growth Concepts, a marketing / management consulting firm focused on start-up, small and mid-sized businesses.  Areas of specialization include:  Mobile Marketing, Social Media Marketing, and Virtual Events production.  Linda is a recognized small business marketing expert with 20+ years of experience in a wide variety of industries. 

Linda is available for consultation on Mobile Marketing and other topics, and can be contacted at Linda@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com.  The company website can be viewed at www.StrategicGrowthConcepts.com .  For more information on Mobile Marketing please visit the Mobile Marketing section of the Strategic Growth Concepts website.

Mobile Integrated Into Marketing Strategy = Success & Increased Revenue, Part IV June 6, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in local marketing strategies, marketing strategies, mobile, mobile coupons, Mobile Marketing, Strategic Growth Concepts.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
6 comments

Part IV – Using Mobile for Local Business Development

In Part I of our multi-part Mobile Marketing series we learned that Mobile Marketing is most effective when incorporated into an overall marketing strategy, and used as a supplement to the mediums you are already using. 

In Part II of our series we discussed a variety of low-cost or no-cost methods of Mobile Marketing that a small business can utilize to promote their firm. 

In Part III of our series we reviewed a wide range of Mobile Marketing case studies that showcase the ways in which Mobile Marketing is being utilized by both large and small businesses.

Now, in Part IV of our series on Mobile Marketing, we’re going to look more specifically at the ways to effectively utilize it to promote your firm within a specific local marketing area.

As you know from reading the earlier segments of our series, mobile phone advertising is quickly becoming a key component in large business marketing campaigns – large companies are definitely the early adopters of the technology. And since billions of people use cell phones every day, and over 12 billion text messages are sent every month in the US, the reasons for big business adoption of the technology are clear. However, Mobile Marketing can be even MORE effective for small local businesses once they understand how to use it effectively.

One of the reasons many small business owners give me for not using Mobile Marketing, is their belief that they will be sending messages to lots of people outside their market area who will never have need for their product or service, and because so many people are thought to be receiving their messages, they assume it will be extremely expensive.  However, THEY COULDN’T BE MORE WRONG!

A primary advantage to using Mobile Marketing is its ability to very specifically target your messages to only those you want to receive them according to very specific demographic criteria.  Remember, Mobile Marketing is an ‘opt-in’ medium.  Once someone has opted in to your list, you can segment them according to whatever criteria is most effective to you in marketing your business.  The more information you gather about them, the more information you can use to target them specifically.

Let’s say you run a small ice cream shop or a family-owned restaurant and your customer database includes information on the names, ages and birthdates of your customer’s kids. How about sending coupons for a free cone or a free kid’s dinner on each of your customer’s kid’s birthdays via SMS messaging? Or if you run a beauty salon, or work for a doctor’s office, how about sending text message reminders about upcoming appointments in order to cut down on your ‘no shows’?

This form of personal contact is perfect for any type of service business. If you run a massage parlor or day spa, consider sending discounts or coupons to your customers on their anniversaries, birthdays or other special occasions.

If you run a woman’s clothing store, you can suggest that your customers fill out a card asking to be notified when particular new items in their preferred style, size, brand arrive in inventory; then you can text them when those items arrive. Or you can send an offer for an inventory close-out sale for current customers only when you’re getting ready to change seasonal inventory.

If you’re a toy store at Christmas and you manage to get a shipment of the ‘must have toy of the season’ that everyone is clamoring for and can’t find anywhere, don’t you think a text message to your existing customers will result in their IMMEDIATE presence in your store when you send a text telling them you have the item in stock but supplies are limited and likely to be gone by tomorrow?  AND, don’t you think they’ll be extremely grateful for the information and likely to think of your store first the next time they need a hard-to-find toy item?

The possibilities are really endless when you think about ways to increase your contact with customers via Mobile technology.  Mobile Marketing allows you to provide a much higher level of customer service to your clients, as well as developing creative, cost-effective ways to obtain new clients.  View Local Mobile Marketing examples in our Flickr stream.

Mobile phone advertising can also become an extremely inexpensive form of viral marketing if you indicate in your text message that the offer is good for any friend or family member that your customer forwards the text message to. A modern version of “I told two friends…and they told two friends…,” the possibilities for your business are seemingly limitless.

Whether you run a storefront or a service business, viral mobile phone advertising is a great way to fill in slow periods throughout the week your company may be having. Suppose you run a cleaning service and your Wednesdays are typically slow; consider sending a text message to your database of customers who may not have used your services for awhile, offering a discount on a whole house cleaning to anyone who responds within the next 3 hours – or to make it competitive, indicate that the first person to respond will receive 1 month worth of whole house cleaning services.  This will get those who haven’t thought of your business in a while thinking about it again – even if they don’t win the contest, and the next time they need cleaning service, they’ll likely call you.

Try to make your offers fun and appealing so your customers will pass them on to friends and family; this will help to build your ‘opt-in’ list so more people will receive future messages from you. A small bit of creativity together with a commitment to offering a personal touch through Mobile Marketing will really set you above your competition in your customer’s minds.

If you would like to learn how Mobile Marketing can be used effectively with strategies for your specific business, please contact Strategic Growth Concepts via our website or email us directly at info@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com .  Our strong relationships with a wide variety of mobile services providers insures that we will be able to find the right solution for your business, and work with you to develop an exciting Mobile Marketing campaign that will generate interest in your business and revenue for your company.

____________________________________________________________

The author, Linda Daichendt, is Founder, CEO and Managing Consultant at Strategic Growth Concepts, a consulting firm specializing in start-up, small and mid-sized businesses.  Linda is a recognized small business marketing expert with 20+ years experience in a variety of industries including: wireless, retail, chemical distribution, residential and commercial contracting, automotive aftermarket, personal services, shopping center development/management, and entertainment facilities management.  Linda is available for consultation and can be contacted at linda@strategicgrowthconcepts.com. The company website can be viewed at http://www.strategicgrowthconcepts.com.

Mobile Integrated Into Marketing Strategy = Success & Increased Revenue, Part III June 2, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in marketing strategies, Mobile Marketing, Strategic Growth Concepts.
Tags: , , , , ,
3 comments

Part III – Mobile Marketing Case Studies

In Part I of our multi-part Mobile Marketing series we learned that Mobile Marketing is most effective when incorporated into an overall marketing strategy, and used as a supplement to the mediums you are already using. 

In Part II of our series we discussed a variety of low-cost or no-cost methods of Mobile Marketing that a small business can utilize to promote their firm. 

In Part III, we’re going to take a look at a wide variety of case studies which showcase the way businesses are utilizing Mobile Marketing.  Our example case studies are drawn from a wide variety of sources, and will detail Mobile Marketing strategies being implemented by firms both large and small; remember, Mobile Marketing is a great way for even the smallest of businesses to ‘level the playing field’.  When opting in to your Mobile campaign, a consumer will have no way of knowing how many employees you have, what your store or office looks like, or how much inventory you’re carrying.  The idea is to draw them in to want to visit your business.  Mobile Marketing allows a small business to present itself in a professional manner, in a high-impact / high ROI medium, with a low cost of entry.  What more could a small business want?

In the case study examples we will provide, you will be able to see Mobile Marketing at work in a wide variety of business types including:  retail, food service, travel, B2B, media/entertainment, healthcare, automotive, non-profit, real estate, consumer services, education, and much, much more. 

Many of the provided case studies go into great detail about the problem they were trying to solve, the mobile strategy they implemented, and the results they achieved.  We encourage you to review them in-depth and consider how their examples might be applied to your business; and then we encourage you to SIMPLY TRY IT!  There are a wide variety of Mobile Marketing resources that enable you to implement a single low-cost campaign without requiring a contract of any kind or any future costs; we would be happy to assist you in identifying those vendors.

So now, let’s get to the case studies!  Please follow the link to the case studies, and we encourage you to add any thoughts or questions to the comments for this article; we will respond to each and every one that requests a response and we’d love to know what you think about the case study examples provided.

___________________________________________________________

The author, Linda Daichendt, is Founder, CEO and Managing Consultant at Strategic Growth Concepts, a consulting firm specializing in start-up, small and mid-sized businesses.  Linda is a recognized small business marketing expert with 20+ years experience in a variety of industries including: wireless, retail, chemical distribution, residential and commercial contracting, automotive aftermarket, personal services, shopping center development/management, and entertainment facilities management.  Linda is available for consultation and can be contacted at linda@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com. The company website can be viewed at www.StrategicGrowthConcepts.com.

Mobile Integrated Into Marketing Strategy = Success & Increased Revenue, Part II May 16, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in marketing strategies, mobile, mobile coupons, Mobile Marketing, Social Media, Strategic Growth Concepts.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
6 comments

Part II – Low-Cost / No-Cost Methods of Mobile Marketing

In Part I of our multi-part Mobile Marketing series we learned that Mobile Marketing is most effective when incorporated into an overall marketing strategy, and used as a supplement to the mediums you are already using. 

In Part II of our series we’re going to discuss a variety of low-cost or no-cost methods of Mobile Marketing that a small business can utilize to promote their firm.  So let’s look at some ways a small business without a substantial budget can incorporate Mobile Marketing into their existing marketing strategy:

  1. Local Business Listings – These are the free yellow page listings by Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and many other directories; and these directories are the resource that consumers will use to find your business – particularly when they are ‘on the road’ and searching on their mobile device. There are over 60 local business listing websites on the Internet in five different categories. They include the search engines, social communities, 411 websites (aka yellow page type websites), GPS websites and the age old business directory.  Most of them are free but need to be ‘claimed’ by your company in order to insure they contain accurate information that drives customers to your business.  Failure to ‘claim’ your listing may mean that inaccurate information about your firm is posted to them from other sources, or that someone else may hijack your listing for unscrupulous purposes.  To effectively ‘claim’ your listings can be extremely time-consuming and tedious, therefore, an alternative option is our Local Business Listings Management Service which can handle this task for you.
  2. Google Mobile Coupons – Google is just one of the search engine directories where your business should be listed to insure it will be found via Internet or Mobile search, however, Google offers a distinctive advantage.  For over a year now Google has been offering all businesses with a Google Local Business Listing the ability to include Mobile Coupons as part of their listing.  The Mobile Coupon tool is FREE to use, and you can include multiple coupons with your listing.  Then when your firm comes up in the search listings, potential customers will also see your Coupon.  It could be just the advantage you need to make them pick your company over your competitor’s!
  3. Social Media – many of the most prominent social media sites now allow members to access them via their mobile phones, in fact, Facebook which boasts 400 million users, recently publicized statistics which indicate that more than 100 million of those users are using mobile phones to manage their account.  This means if your firm already has a presence on social media, that you are likely already benefitting from Mobile Marketing without taking any additional actions.  However, if you’re not yet participating in social media, then it’s time to get on board!  If you would like to learn how social media can work for your firm and help to increase your Mobile Marketing presence, or if you would like assistance in developing and managing a social media program, please go to the social media section of our website.
  4. SMS Messaging (text messaging) – According to the Director of Research at Nielsen Mobile, “People look at every text message they get”, and they do so within 15 minutes; in fact, studies show that 97% of cell service subscribers read any text messages they get within 15 minutes.  Can you think of any other advertising medium where you are almost guaranteed that every person targeted will see your message?  In today’s “on-the-go” world, studies show that 84% of mobile phone users keep their device within 10 feet of them at all times.  Considering that over 85% of potential consumers have a cell phone, that’s a huge potential customer base that’s easily accessible (as long as they have opted-in to receive messages from you)!  Recent surveys also indicate that consumers are very accepting of mobile offers sent to their phones as long as they are from companies in which they have interest.  The really good news is that the technology has advanced far enough that there are now SMS Mobile Marketing platforms where you can easily create your own text messaging campaigns within minutes – and starting as low as $25 per month!  Learn more about your text messaging options on our website.  Some ways you might use SMS messaging might include:  coupons, contests, regular ‘tips’ about your product or service, and incorporating your KEY WORD and SHORT CODE in your print, billboard, radio or TV advertising to encourage people to opt-in to your mobile list so you can then contact them via SMS on a regular basis with offers designed to encourage them to do business with you again.
  5. Mobile Website – In the last 5 years it has become an imperative rather than an option to have an Internet website.  Now, it is also becoming an imperative to have a mobile version of your website.  These sites are optimized specifically for easy viewing on the wide variety of mobile phones available today and are NOT just scaled down versions of your Internet website.  However, technology advances have also made this option much easier to implement, and services exist where you can build your own mobile website or have it done for you typically for several hundred dollars or less.  Learn more about mobile website options on our website.
  6. QR Codes – Another very viable and cost-effective Mobile Marketing option are QR codes.  These are 2-dimensional graphics (similar to the barcodes on products you buy at the grocery store) that contain information that can lead your customers to a website, display a coupon, provide driving directions or a map, provide contact information, or many other valuable uses. In order to ‘read’ a QR code a consumer downloads a QR code reader into their phone (though the software comes standard in Europe and Asia, that is not yet the case in the U.S. but likely will be soon), then they take a picture of the code with phone’s camera and the software automatically sends them to whatever content you had embedded within your code.  You as an advertiser can place these codes in your print ads, on websites, on billboards, on t-shirts, in emails, or on any other printable or digital medium where a camera would be able to take a picture of it.  Learn more about using QR Codes on our website.

This is just a brief overview a few of the many ways in which Mobile Marketing can be utilized to promote your business cost-effectively.  If you would like to learn more about the ways Mobile Marketing can help your business specifically, please contact us via our website or email us at info@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com .

In Part III of this series, we’ll review case studies that show a variety of ways Mobile Marketing is being utilized by other small businesses so you can begin to consider how to apply this high ROI  technology to your business.  Future segments of the series will continue to explore Mobile Marketing, and attempt to answer any questions submitted to us about the medium.  If you would like to have your questions about Mobile Marketing incorporated into our series, please submit them to us directly at info@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com and include “Mobile Marketing Questions” in the subject line of the email.

Mobile Integrated Into Marketing Strategy = Success & Increased Revenue, Part I May 9, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in marketing strategies, mobile, Mobile Marketing, Strategic Growth Concepts.
Tags: , , , , ,
9 comments

Part I – Mobile Integration into Marketing Strategy

There’s a lot of ‘buzz’ these days about Mobile Marketing and how it’s changing the world of advertising, and direct communication with consumers.  However, as marketers begin to become familiar with all of the Mobile options available to them, one issue they will need to give serious consideration to is how to integrate Mobile into their existing marketing strategy.

To help facilitate a better understanding of Mobile Marketing and the most effective ways to use it, over the next several weeks we will be publishing a multi-part series which discusses this hot, new medium and the best ways to incorporate it into your existing marketing strategy.  Additionally, we will also answer any Mobile Marketing questions sent to us by our readers!

One of the biggest mistakes that many advertisers make when they start using Mobile Marketing, is to assume that it’s a stand-alone medium – and then when it doesn’t work as expected, they write it off as an ineffective medium – all because they haven’t learned to use it correctly.  So let’s make the most important point about Mobile Marketing now – MOBILE MARKETING IS NOT A STAND-ALONE MEDIUM; MOBILE MARKETING WORKS BEST WHEN IT IS PART OF AN INTEGRATED MARKETING STRATEGY AND A SUPPLEMENT TO THE MEDIUMS YOU ARE CURRENTLY USING.

So what does this mean?  Let’s first define what we mean by an ‘integrated marketing strategy’.  One definition we found that seemed to represent the idea well was:  “A simple way to look at integrated marketing is to think about your customer and analyze all media that you’ll need to use in order to reach him/her with your message, keeping in mind that a consumer will need to see/hear your message AT LEAST 7 times before they will recall it. Integrated marketing also deals with managing those media so that you coordinate activities that will generate a higher impact when combined.”  The concept includes online and offline marketing channels. Online marketing channels may include e-marketing campaigns or programs, from search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click, affiliate, email, banner to latest web related channels for webinar, blog, micro-blogging, RSS, podcast, and Internet TV. Offline marketing channels may include traditional print (newspaper, magazine), mobile, mail order, public relations, industry relations, billboard, radio, and television.

In a recent article in Mobile Commerce Daily, Best Buy representatives discussed their own mobile strategy and offered this advice for those starting to utilize Mobile Marketing, “Use mobile as an integrated part of a larger strategy, not as a one-off channel.  Particularly if you are a multi-channel retailer, customers have an expectation of a consistent experience regardless of which entry point they access, be it online, the phone, or the store. That’s why for the most part, our mobile communication strategy was an extension of our overall holiday strategy and there were consistent elements across.”

In Part II of this series, we will discuss a variety of Mobile Marketing methods a small business can use at low-cost or no-cost to promote their firm.  Future segments of the series will continue to explore Mobile Marketing, and attempt to answer any questions submitted to us about the medium.  If you would like to have your questions about Mobile Marketing incorporated into our series, please submit them to us directly at info@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com and include “Mobile Marketing Questions” in the subject line of the email or post them as comments on this blog.

____________________________________________________________

The author, Linda Daichendt, is Founder, CEO and Managing Consultant at Strategic Growth Concepts, a consulting and training firm specializing in start-up, small and mid-sized businesses. She is a recognized small business expert with 20+ years experience in providing Marketing, Operations, HR, and Strategic planning services to start-up, small and mid-sized businesses. Linda can be contacted at linda@strategicgrowthconcepts.com and the company website can be viewed at www.strategicgrowthconcepts.com.

Learn Why You Need a Mobile Strategy for Your Company May 7, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in marketing strategies, mobile, Mobile Marketing, Strategic Growth Concepts.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

Today, every company needs to have a mobile marketing strategy that integrates mobile with other marketing tools they are implementing; mobile tools might include:  a mobile website, text messaging (SMS), MMS, QR Codes, banner ads and more (learn more about each type of mobile marketing on our website).

A mobile strategy should thread through all avenues of marketing that are existing already within a company and should not be a separate entity, according to Marci Troutman, CEO of Siteminis, Atlanta in an article for Mobile Marketer Daily entitled, “Why Brands Must Have a 360-Degree Mobile Web Strategy“.   She further indicates that it’s most effective when mobile becomes an additional marketing channel threading though and linking to all existing channels, i.e., store signage, electronic media, print media, Internet and store associate training.

In the same article, Ran Farmer, managing director of Netbiscuits, Washington says, “Do not misunderstand mobile to be the little brother of the PC Web.  Mobile will very soon be much bigger than the PC Web.”

If you would like to learn more about how Mobile Marketing can help your business, please contact us at info@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com, visit our PC website or visit our mobile website on your cellphone at StrategicGrowthConcepts.mobi.  You can also text the word STRATEGIC to 244326 to join our Strategic Growth club and to become eligible for discounts on Mobile Marketing services for your company.

____________________________________________________________

The author, Linda Daichendt, is Founder, CEO and Managing Consultant at Strategic Growth Concepts, a consulting and training firm specializing in start-up, small and mid-sized businesses. She is a recognized small business expert with 20+ years experience in providing Marketing, Operations, HR, and Strategic planning services to start-up, small and mid-sized businesses. Linda can be contacted at linda@strategicgrowthconcepts.com and the company website can be viewed at www.strategicgrowthconcepts.com.

ComScore Study Shows Increasing Mobile Use by Consumers; Time for Business to Start Reaching Them Via Mobile May 6, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in marketing strategies, mobile, Mobile Marketing, Strategic Growth Concepts.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

comScore recently released its’ latest report about Mobile Phone subscribers; which phones they’re buying, which carriers they’re using, and which functions they are using on their phones.  Those firms who are still deciding whether or not they should be taking action to get a Mobile presence for their firms should find the study quite interesting.  Below, find an excerpt from the study regarding the use of phone functions.

In an average month during the January through March 2010 time period, 63.7 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers used text messaging on their mobile device, up 0.6 percentage points versus three months prior. Browsers were used by 30.1 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers (up 2.6 percentage points), while subscribers who used downloaded applications made up 28.6 percent of the mobile audience (up 2.6 percentage points). Access of social networking sites or blogs continued to increase, posting gains of 2.8 percentage points to 18.7 percent of mobile subscribers.

Mobile Content Usage
3 Month Avg. Ending Mar. 2010 vs. 3 Month Avg. Ending Dec. 2009
Total U.S. Age 13+
Source: comScore MobiLens
  Share (%) of U.S. Mobile Subscribers
Dec-09 Mar-10 Point Change
Total Mobile Subscribers 100.0% 100.0% N/A
Sent text message to another phone 63.1% 63.7% 0.6
Used browser 27.5% 30.1% 2.6
Used downloaded apps 26.0% 28.6% 2.6
Played games 21.6% 21.8% 0.2
Accessed social networking site or blog 15.9% 18.7% 2.8
Listened to music on mobile phone 12.1% 13.2% 1.1

As the study indicates, text messaging is used by over 60% of subscribers, a web browser is used by over 30% of subscribers, and almost 20% are currently using their phone to access sites such as Facebook and Twitter.  And the numbers will only continue to rise!  The mobile phone is how consumers are communicating with each other, and in increasing numbers, with the firms they want to do business with.  To learn more, read the complete comScore March 2010 study.

Those who have not yet implemented a Mobile Marketing strategy for their business need to begin work on one right away – if you don’t, be assurred your competitor’s will be – and then they’ll have a significant advantage over your business!

Strategic Growth Concepts would like to assist you in assessing your Mobile Marketing needs and determining how best to incorporate Mobile into your existing marketing strategy.  The answers are not the same for every firm; for some, it might be text messaging and a mobile website; for others it might be developing a mobile application and a series of mobile banner ads.  We at strategic have the marketing experience and mobile knowledge to help you find the best solution for your firm.  If you would like to schedule a call to learn how Strategic can assist your firm with its Mobile Marketing initiatives, please contact us via our mobile website at www.StrategicGrowthConcepts.mobi, our Internet website, or email at info@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com .

____________________________________________________________

The author, Linda Daichendt, is Founder, CEO and Managing Consultant at Strategic Growth Concepts, a consulting and training firm specializing in start-up, small and mid-sized businesses. She is a recognized small business expert with 20+ years experience in providing Marketing, Operations, HR, and Strategic planning services to start-up, small and mid-sized businesses. Linda can be contacted at linda@strategicgrowthconcepts.com and the company website can be viewed at www.strategicgrowthconcepts.com.

QR Codes: The Next Step in Retailer Loyalty Programs April 26, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in marketing strategies, Marketing-changing technology, mobile, Mobile Marketing.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
9 comments

As part of our on-going information series about Mobile Marketing, we are working to make our readers familiar with the different types of Mobile Marketing tools available for promoting your products and services.  One that has yet to gain much attention is QR (quick-response) codes.  While not yet part of the mainstream here in the U.S., in Europe and Asia these codes are an everyday technology for consumers and retailers, and our research tells us it won’t be long before that’s also the case here.

Think of QR codes as the barcodes currently read by the cashier at your local grocery store.  Those codes contain product information such as pricing, sku, inventory info, etc.; scanning the info enables them to move you quickly thru checkout, and if you are part of the grocery store loyalty/discount program, then it also uploads a history of your purchases to your account.  This allows the grocery chain to provide you with special offers related to the types of purchases you make, it helps them see how often you visit their store, and it helps them with inventory/purchasing management.

QR codes are the same thing – but these are scannable by cell phones – and any company can put whatever information inside the code that they would like.  Read the article below for a more detailed overview of QR codes and their potential use for retailers.

____________________________________________________________

QR codes: Building a mobile loyalty program beyond key tags

By Jeff Weidauer for RetailCustomerExperience.com

The Nielsen Company recently predicted that smart phones will overtake “feature phones” (those without a keyboard and internet access) by next year. Most business people are already carrying an iPhone, Blackberry, or one of the many Windows Mobile smart phones; the rest of the population isn’t far behind. In fact, while smart phones started as a business tool, two-thirds of new buyers are personal users.

Mobile coupons have already begun to make inroads into what was once the domain of the venerable paper version; there are more sites to find and download mobile coupons now than one can reasonably visit. While these coupons don’t require a smart phone, viewing and scanning them is certainly easier on the increased screen real estate the smart phone platform offers.

If you’re a retailer, the logical question is, “What’s next?” The answer: QR codes.

Also known as 2D barcodes, or matrix codes, QR (for quick response) codes are in use throughout Europe and Asia, and thanks to the growth of smart phones, they are beginning to make their way to the United States. QR codes are essentially a way to link online content to a mobile device.

Using a scanner — numerous versions are available for mobile phones — the shopper scans the code and is redirected to a website, or a video, or some other content that the creator of the code has developed. Today, you’re most likely to come across them in the United States in a magazine ad, inviting you to scan the code and be taken to a link with more information.

Retailers should be working to implement this technology as soon as possible; while QR codes are not in the mainstream today, they will be very soon. Recent research predicts that two-thirds of retailers are planning a digital mobile initiative launch before the end of this year, and many of these will include a QR code capability. Manufacturers are already planning to incorporate this technology into advertising and packaging.

Of course, there is a great deal more to the technology, but the premise is as tantalizing as it is simple: shoppers scan a barcode on the shelf edge using their mobile devices, possibly with a branded scanner that you, the retailer, provide. This scanner could, and should, be part of a complete mobile application that connects your brand to the shopper and assists her throughout the path to purchase.

Once she scans the code on the shelf, the shopper is taken to a website or some other mobile-enabled content and provided with information the retailer controls. At the same time, a retailer can collect information on the shopper, such as where and when she scanned the code, how many codes she scanned, and what actions she may have taken afterward. Interface this with a retailer’s loyalty database, and the possibilities for connecting in a meaningful manner with the best shoppers become clear.

Nearly every retailer today has some type of loyalty program. Most involve issuing a card or key tag to shoppers, and most entice shoppers to use their cards by offering temporary price reductions that are only available to card holders. From here, data are gathered and analyzed, with the intent of providing insights that allow the retailer to market more effectively to shoppers based on their purchase behavior.

Consider the possibilities if that same program is tied to shoppers via their mobile device rather than a key tag. And instead of just getting the results of shopper behavior after the fact, consider the benefits of getting in on the pre-shop planning: list-making, coupons, etc. Then follow the shopper to the store and connect with her there via QR codes at the shelf edge — codes that are unique to that store and offer benefits that are relevant to that local shopper. Then follow up with the shopper with a post-shop program that could include surveys, savings analyses to show her how much she saved, and offers for her next trip to make sure it’s to your store.

Once a retailer starts thinking beyond the key tag and becomes a part of the process rather than just looking at results after the fact, opportunities abound. With this approach a retailer is not just throwing out offers, it’s having a dialogue with its shoppers; building and maintaining a relationship that benefits both the retailer and the shopper for the long term.

The technology is available today — right now. And right now is a good time to start preparing for when the smart phone becomes the mobile device of choice. Engage shoppers today with a QR code at the shelf, and start building an overall mobile loyalty strategy that goes far beyond the key tag.

Jeff Weidauer is vice president of marketing for Vestcom International Inc., a provider of technological retail solutions based in Little Rock, Ark. (Photo by CoCreatr.)
___________________________________________________________

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.

The author, Linda Daichendt, is Founder, CEO and Managing Consultant at Strategic Growth Concepts, a consulting and training firm specializing in start-up, small and mid-sized businesses. She is a recognized small business expert with 20+ years experience in providing Marketing, Operations, HR, and Strategic planning services to start-up, small and mid-sized businesses. Linda can be contacted at linda@strategicgrowthconcepts.com and the company website can be viewed at www.strategicgrowthconcepts.com.

Franchises Can Use Latest Technology to Increase System Growth & Decrease Costs with Virtual Events January 22, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in marketing strategies, Strategic Growth Concepts, Virtual Technology.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

Virtual events combine various configurations of the latest technologies in webcasting, online chats, video streaming, webinars, social media and avatar graphics to provide elements such as speeches, Q&A, seminars, distribution of literature, interactive social ‘gatherings’ and/or exhibitor booths – all without ever leaving your desk or home to participate in an event that could be worldwide in scope.

This technology is now being made available to the franchise industry via a FREE webinar entitled, An Introduction to Virtual Franchise Events, scheduled to take place on Thursday, January 28th at 2:00 p.m. EST, where the franchise community will have an opportunity to learn the many ways that virtual franchise events can aid their bottom line. Click HERE to learn more about this webinar and virtual events, and HERE to register for the webinar.  This event is a production of Virtual Franchise Events, Inc., a joint venture of franchisEssentials and Strategic Growth Concepts.

Commit to the Use of Mobile Marketing Instead of ‘Testing’ It January 16, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in marketing strategies, mobile, Mobile Marketing, Strategic Growth Concepts.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

Those of you who are regular readers of this blog know that we are very strong proponents of Mobile Marketing technology and incorporating that technology into your marketing mix.  We also believe that 2010 is likely to be the ‘breakout year’ for Mobile Marketing, and that those who previously hadn’t even considered incorporating it into their marketing strategies will now become frequent users of the medium.

Given the dominant role that Mobile is likely to play in the marketing efforts of businesses large and small this year, we feel it is important that marketers have an understanding of the best approach to take and how it may best be applied within their firm’s marketing plans.  Therefore, we felt it an excellent idea to share with you this essay by Cory Treffiletti which recently appeared in MediaPost’s ‘OnlineSpin’.  We urge you to review Cory’s recommendations and consider how best to apply them to your firm.

_____________________________________________________

Commit To Mobile Instead Of ‘Testing’
By Cory Treffiletti

Do you have a mobile strategy, or are you just winging it?

Participating in the mobile landscape is like any relationship: to be effective, you have to know what you want going into it. You have to be willing to commit and to compromise in order to have success.

Mobile is growing in importance; the recent acquisitions by Google and Apple of mobile ad networks, as well as the recent announcement of the Google Nexus One, demonstrates that fact. The problem is that too many people come at it from the wrong perspective. Mobile is first and foremost a communications vehicle, and the smart marketers are the ones that are using it in that way. Mobile is built on apps and ads, but all these do is provide an easier means of expanding the communication between a brand and the consumer.

Mobile should be used as a support and extension vehicle for other media campaigns by embracing that communications role. It is not something to be planned in a vacuum, because it doesn’t perform well as a stand-alone effort. The ads in the mobile space are too small and un-engaging, and the applications that some companies develop are always an extension of an application from somewhere else. Customer service apps are an extension of traditional customer service. Mobile Web sites are a repurposing of existing content. No brand would begin with the mobile platform as its primary means of interacting with the consumer, because the reach and the experience are too limited. Mobile is rather a medium that is well used for continuing a conversation that was started somewhere else.

I get calls day in and day out from mobile providers that want us to spend money on their platform, but they are typically pitching first and listening second, which does a disservice to the mobile category because it is not building on the strength of the medium. Mobile is a means of extending the conversation and going beyond the browser, the printed page or the television commercial. By integrating a mobile component for follow-up, you can provide a measurement element for other campaigns. Text messaging can be used for additional information. Mobile search can be used to get information on the fly. Location-based services can provide similar efforts.

Even mobile ads that refer to a holistic campaign launched in another medium can reinforce messaging and convert consumers into consideration (especially when factored in with mobile offers that reach the consumer closer to the point of purchase). All of these elements provide follow-up that may not have existed before.

To do mobile right, you need to be proactive and plan out the goals for your campaign, and you need to integrate it into your entire effort. Don’t plan mobile as a “test” buy in your media plan, because it will be just like “testing” a relationship. If you don’t commit to a relationship, it can’t work. You can build a beautiful application but if you don’t promote it and integrate it into your overall effort, it will fail.

If you’re going to commit to a mobile integration in your efforts, be willing to compromise. You have to work within the parameters of where the industry is now, not plan for where it will be in a year. Your audience may not be at the forefront of technology yet — not ready for apps as advanced as you may want to try — but you have to respect them where they are (plus the industry changes so rapidly that you may not be correct on your bets). So reach out to your audience, get them interested, and then take them where you want to go.

And for the people selling mobile these days, please set your expectations properly. Yours is not a quick sell, because you need to sell into existing campaigns. Your ideas cannot be planned in a vacuum or you will not succeed. Be sure to do your homework and have a strategy from your side as well.

Strategic planning from both sides will lead to easier successes down the line. Don’t you agree?

Cory is president and managing partner for Catalyst SF. Contact him here.

Even Santa and NORAD Understand the Value of Social Media Marketing December 4, 2009

Posted by StrategicGrowth in FaceBook, marketing strategies, Social Media, Strategic Growth Concepts, Twitter.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
2 comments

Just when you might think you’ve heard it all, now small businesses can take a lesson from Santa!  A recent article describes a comprehensive social media strategy recently put in place by NORAD (the North American Aerospace Defense Command) to track Santa’s progress this holiday season. 

While obviously meant to be a fun activity, closer reading of the story actually displays a well thought out and comprehensive Social Media Marketing Strategy that small business owners would do well to emulate in their own marketing efforts!

Click HERE to learn how Santa and NORAD are on the cutting edge of Social Media Marketing, and how you can put a similar strategy to work for your company.

3 Local Marketing Initiatives with Higher ROIs November 20, 2009

Posted by StrategicGrowth in marketing strategies, Strategic Growth Concepts, Web 2.0.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
2 comments

With most small businesses today seeking every low or no-cost marketing option they can find to promote their products and services, the publishers of this blog are constantly in search of information about new resources that can help.  As we have discussed in many previous articles, many Web 2.0 options abound to help businesses promote themselves, but most are unable to concentrate your firm’s efforts on your specific geographic area – at least not easily.  However, the following tools are ideal for promoting your business within your specific geographic region to insure that those potential customers closest to you are well aware of your existance and what you have to offer.

Take advantage of these tools that any small business can use to promote your business within your local community.

____________________________________________________________

Forget the Phonebook: 3 Local Marketing Initiatives with Higher ROIs

Gregory Go (Wise Bread), Nov 12, 2009 –

The phonebook is so 1998. Few people use it anymore, and yet in an ironic twist, advertising in the phonebook has become more expensive as telcos try to boost revenues. Don’t play their game.

Boost the ROI of your advertising budget by switching your local marketing focus to the following 3 websites.

The basic strategy for each of the following options is two-fold:

  1. The first step — making sure you are listed and have accurate info — is free for all three of the following sites. It’s equivalent to making sure your phone number and address is accurate in the free, basic listing in the phonebook.
 
  2. The second step — buying advertising — is equivalent to buying an ad in the phonebook. Versus the phonebook, you’ll get more reach and better tracking data, which helps ensure you maximize your local advertising ROI.

1. Yelp!

Yelp is the premier review site for local businesses. Consumers love it because it lets them easily share their thoughts on local service providers and retail outlets, and in return, get honest reviews of local businesses from their peers. Businesses love Yelp — honest, reputable businesses, at least — because businesses that receive positive reviews see dramatic increases in referral customers.

Start here.

Step 1: Control Your Listing (and Get Stats)

Yelp provides business owners that have “unlocked” their pages with lots of value-added features including messaging options (eg., post offers and announcements, reply to reviewers) and stats on how many people have viewed your business page. Check out this page for a screenshot of the business dashboard you’ll have access to as the owner of the business.

The biggest benefit of taking control of your Yelp page is being able to highlight positive reviews of your business and/or responding to reviewers privately.  However, don’t think that just because Yelp is willing to take your money that it means they will take down negative reviews of your business.  They won’t, unless it violates review guidelines (eg., contains racial slurs or is second-hand information).  As a good business owner, you should take comfort in this policy, because it means your less scrupulous competitors won’t be able to hide their shady practices for long.

Step 2: Buy Advertising

Yelp offers two advertising options for increasing your exposure:

  1. Top placement in search results.
  2. Showcasing your business on a similar business’ page.

You can see screenshots of both options here.  Pricing varies based on your city, business category, and number of impressions you want to buy.  You can talk details and pricing with a Yelp sales representative by filling out this form and waiting for a callback.

2. Google Local

Start here.

When consumers search for a local business or a local service (eg., “thai food”, “dry cleaner”) on Google, a small map and some business results appear at the top of the search results (screenshot).  Additionally, you get a business details page that can contain information like your phone number, email address, store hours, accepted payment types, photos and videos, and service or product categories (screenshot).

Step 1: Take Control of Your Listing (and Get Stats)

Adding business details and creating coupons is completely free on Google. Start by claiming your business at Google’s Local Business Center. Once you’ve verified your ownership, you can start adding details and creating coupons that will appear on your business details page.

Here’s where Google Local become more exciting than the phonebook. On your Google local business dashboard (screenshot), you can see what search phrases people are typing in to find your business and where those searchers are located on a map (abstracted to a zip code level to protect searchers’ privacy).

Click here for more information on Google’s Local Business Center features.

Step 2A: Buy AdWords Ads

AdWords is the program where advertisers bid on search keywords and have their links appear next to or on top of search results.  While the AdWords program is not specifically geared towards a local market, as an advertiser, you can limit where your ad appears based on the searcher’s location.

You buy AdWords ads by bidding on how much you’re willing to pay for clicks on your ad.  Your ads appear on search results for your targeted keywords (ie., phrases people type into the search box).  The more popular keywords (eg., “thai food”) will cost more per click than more obscure keywords (eg., “pad thai”).  

Balancing the cost per click versus the popularity (reach) of keywords is what makes AdWords advertising a bit tricky.  It does take quite a bit of management to maximize your ROI. Fortunately, Google allows you to set spending limits so you don’t blow your monthly budget, and offers plenty of tools and resources to help you manage your AdWords campaigns.

Managing an AdWords campaign is beyond the scope of this article, but here are some resources to get you started:

Step 2B: Buy Local Ad Listings

These are a new type of ads Google is selling specifically for local businesses.  They are currently available only in San Fransisco and San Diego.  To get a notice when they are rolled out to your area, fill out this form.

The difference between Local Ad Listings and AdWords is that you don’t have to bid for keywords or do any fancy campaign management.  Google charges a flat monthly rate for these ads, and shows them on local searches at the top of search results (screenshot) and in Google Maps (screenshot). 

The rate depends on your city and business category.  Rates are offered after you’ve claimed your small business listing in step 1.  Once you’ve claimed your local business and Google has rolled out these ads to your city, you will see a new “Ads” tab in your business dashboard.

An advantage of the Local Ad Listing — in addition to having your business appear prominently on related searches — is the call tracking.  When someone calls the phone number listed on your Local Ad Listing, the call is forwarded to regular phone number, and when you pick up, you will hear a short “this call is from Google” message. Counting up the number of calls you receive from your local Google ad, you can then determine if the monthly fee is worth the number of new leads you receive.

3. Yahoo Local

Start here.

Step 1: Claim or create your Yahoo Local listing

Just like Yelp and Google Local, you can claim your Yahoo Local business listing for free.  Claiming or creating the listing will allow you to enter additional information and keep your business details up-to-date.

The first step is to create a Yahoo login.  If you already have a Yahoo email address, you can use that login account to manage your local business listing.  If you already have a Yahoo account, login to your account.  If you don’t already have one, you can sign up for a Yahoo account here (it’s free).

Start by doing a search for your business at Yahoo Local.  If your business already has a listing, click on the “edit info” link on the details page.  Your business will then be linked to your Yahoo account, and when you go to listings.local.yahoo.com, you can click on the “Local Listings Account Center” link in the upper right hand corner to see all your business listings.

If your business is not yet listed, go to listings.local.yahoo.com and click on the “Sign Up” button. You will be presented with a form to fill out your business details like address, phone number, service description, and hours of operation.

For more information about Yahoo Local Listings, check out the help page for Yahoo Local Listings or visit the start page for Yahoo Local Listings.

Step 2: Upgrade to an Enhanced or Featured Listing

And just like the other options, Yahoo offers premium listings that you can purchase to give your business more prominence.  Yahoo Local offers two levels of premium listings: Enhanced or Featured.

An Enhanced Listing costs $9.95 per month.  You get to add up to 10 photos, a longer description of your business, and stats on how often people see and click on your listing.

A Featured Listing puts your business in the sponsored results section of Yahoo search results.  Pricing ranges from $15-$300 per month depending on the size of your city and demand for your service.  Click here to view current pricing details.

Check out this page for a comparison of features for the Basic, Enhanced, and Featured Listings.