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Mogreet Debuts First-Ever Mobile Video Marketing Platform Across All Top U.S. Carriers November 4, 2009

Posted by StrategicGrowth in mobile, Mobile Marketing, Strategic Growth Concepts, Video Marketing, Web 2.0.
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Hundreds of Millions of Americans Can Now Receive Targeted Mogreet Video MMS Messages From Marketers On Everyday Flip Phones or the Latest Smartphones, Including iPhone, Blackberry, Android and Palm Pre

By: PR Newswire Nov. 4, 2009

Mogreet, the company behind the world’s first mobile video messaging platform, today announced the debut of its game-changing mobile marketing solution, the Mogreet Mobile Video Marketing Platform. Mogreet’s platform can deliver short format videos to more than 200 million U.S. mobile devices, while measuring the effectiveness and ROI of each campaign in real-time.

Mogreet clients routinely experience open rates, video views and click-through rates 15 to 25 times higher than other forms of advertising media. And by virtue of the fact that mobile customers react to text messages in 20 seconds on average — versus hours or days for email — brands see results almost instantly. Marketers also benefit from the inherent virality of Mogreet Mobile Video Marketing, as mobile messages can simply and easily be shared amongst friends, which can result in 5 to 10 times additional reach.

“It’s 1993 all over again … only this time, rather than email, the race is on to harness mobile to build a direct relationship with the end consumer,” commented James Citron, CEO, Mogreet. “The ability to deliver your message in video to just about every mobile phone in the U.S., and not just smart phones with Internet plans, means marketers are not forced to sacrifice reach when they add mobile to their marketing mix.”

“Over 150 million U.S. consumers do not own a smartphone, and most have never seen a video on their mobile phone. With Mogreet, we have designed a way to reach these consumers and enable brands to communicate in rich, engaging media, creating an iPhone-like experience across all major cell networks and phones, ” explained Jay Goss, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Mogreet.

Mogreet is expanding marketers’ reach by harnessing the power of over four-billion text messages sent each day in the United States from consumers of all ages, including adults 35-44 who now send more texts than place calls. Mogreet’s platform has been utilized by leading brands in numerous verticals from hospitality — including the launch of a sixty-property line of hip hotels — to apparel, retail and entertainment, with four #1 box office film releases.

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Email Marketing @ Mail Chimp Goes Forever Free September 27, 2009

Posted by StrategicGrowth in email marketing, Web 2.0.
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Those looking for cost-effective ways to market your business can now take advantage of one of the leading email marketing service providers thanks to the following recent announcement.  Now small business has no excuse for a lack of marketing to their customers.

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MailChimpEmail marketing service provider MailChimp made its service pretty much irresistible as the company announced the introduction of its “Forever Free pricing plan”.

The new service level allows subscribers to send up to 500 emails per campaign and 3,000 emails per month at no cost. That’s not a misprint folks – that’s a fact.

“We’ve always seen email first as a publishing tool and second as a marketing tool,” said Ben Chestnut, Co-Founder of MailChimp. “We’re aiming to empower smaller groups like artists, musicians, nonprofits, small businesses and hand-crafters to communicate effectively at no cost. That’s why we’re calling this Power to the People. We want to give everyone all the tools they need to send professional, permission-based email campaigns.”

The power of email marketing is well documented. If you’re not currently leveraging email as a marketing channel, this should act as good incentive to give it a try.

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.

Let Your Voice Be Heard by Your Customers May 28, 2009

Posted by StrategicGrowth in email marketing, FaceBook, Social Media, Twitter, Web 2.0.
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Technology keeps evolving and providing small businesses with additional ways to communicate with our target audiences.  Now there is an Application that will allow you to record a voice message and have it distributed directly to your connections via Twitter, Facebook, or MySpace, as well as email and telephone.  It’s less complicated than developing a podcast or a video, and yet highly effective at communicating a message – even while on the move – and it provides distribution options including direct-to-telephone which cannot be achieved thru other methods.

This type of application has many potential uses for small business, including:

  • send an email invitation to a seminar with an actual voice invitation from your company’s CEO
  • it lets a public relations manager in the midst of handling a company crisis convey a message to all necessary staff at the corporate office at one time and they can listen to it at their convenience
  • your CEO can dictate a new corporate policy for immediate implementation and distribute it via email (or telephone)
  • you can describe a new product or service to all your Twitter, Facebook and/or MySpace contacts
  • many, many additional uses that can benefit your company.

Read the article below from Mashable for a complete description of the application and how it works.

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by Ben Parr, Mashable

 Phonevite LogoWhen you need to send a voice note or a dictation to multiple contacts, Phonevite has always been a strong option. However, while it does have an iGoogle Gadget, Phonevite has mostly been limited to voice-to-phone sharing.

That was until today, when Phonevite opened the social media floodgates of its voice services. Starting today, you can not only send voice messages to your friends via phone, but you can also share recordings via Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, email or just embed the audio directly to your website.

Once you have made a voice recording (either via a recording browser app or via phone), the recording will appear in your recording inbox. Now, however, you’ll see five small icons at the bottom for each of the key social services and embeds which you can use to distribute your content easily.

Facebook will post to your wall while Twitter will create the ready-to-share tweet. This makes it simple to send audio to all of your friends instantaneously. And of course, you can still send it to their phone if you need to send it directly.

Social media is an effective mass-communication tool, and Phonevite has tapped into its raw power to dramatically increase the potential of its products. Phonevite is no longer just for voice notes, but for rapidly distributing podcasts, interviews, and calls. It’s up to users and Phonevite, though, to tap into the potential possibilities.

 

Global New Media Trends and Using Them to Grow Your Business May 8, 2009

Posted by StrategicGrowth in email marketing, mobile, Mobile Marketing, Social Media, Twitter, Video Marketing, Web 2.0.
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A recent report issued by The Nielsen Company, a global information and media company active in more than 100 countries, provides a comprehensive overview of the status of new media in today’s marketing environment.  Some highlights of the report include:

  • Online display advertising’s share of revenue has plateaued at 20% of total online ad spend in the U.S.
  • Despite online video’s persistent positive buzz, actual usage is averaging around six minutes per day in the U.S.
  • Packaged goods manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies and telecommunications firms, three of the largest historical spenders on traditional media, are moving online at a pace we haven’t seen before, even as the recession continues to deepen.
  • Access to social networking sites via mobile devices almost tripled during 2008, largely due to rising smartphone penetration and improved network speeds.  Increasingly consumers are turning to their phones for a wide range of online content.
  • The pace of new online users has significantly slowed down, and the story has become about how much time people are spending online and what they’re doing while there.
  • Americans spend the most time online during the average month (about 2 hours per day).
  • The U.S. online population skews more to the age 50+ than the other countries listed in the study.
  • It is rare to see segments grow from BOTH an audience and an engagement standpoint, but we are seeing exceptional growth in these areas over the last couple of years in both video and social media sites.
  • While Member Communities (Facebook, MySpace, etc) have been garnering impressive audience numbers for the last five years, video audiences have been growing at meteoric rates.
  • From a time spent perspective, Member Communities surpassed email for the first time in February 2009.
  • From February 2008 to February 2009, the viewers of online videos grew 10%, the number of streams grew 41%, the streams per user grew 27%, and the total minutes engaged with online video grew 71%.
  • The reach of Member Community (social networking) sites is highest in Brazil (80%) but growting fastest in Germany (from 39% to 51% in one year).
  • The steady upward march of micro-blogging site Twitter will likely be the biggest online media story this year.
  • In the U.S., the mobile Internet audience grew 74% between February 2007 and February 2009.
  • More than 12 million U.S. mobile subscribers access their social networks over their phone.
  • As consumers look to do more on their phones while maintaining or perhaps decreasing their overall wireless spend, we expect that consumers will continue to warm to the idea of ad-supported mobile content.

This information is extremely valuable to marketers and small business owners as it enables companies to see areas of tremendous opportunity where they can maximize their firm’s brand awareness among target audiences.  Click HERE to review the complete Nielsen report and determine how it can be utilized to your company’s benefit.  Should you need assistance sorting thru the options to develop the best marketing strategy for your firm, please contact us to schedule a FREE initial consultation.

MARKETING YOUR COMPANY VIA MOBILE April 6, 2009

Posted by StrategicGrowth in email marketing, mobile, Strategic Growth Concepts.
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As with all small businesses, I am always researching to find additional ways of promoting my company to increase my customer base.  However, given my personal business background in the wireless industry I have become a strong proponent of mobile marketing and see it as “the next internet” if you will.  Therefore I’m putting in place several items that I believe will be of interest to those looking for newer, cost-effective methods of marketing their business.

First, I’ve gone on the search for as much information on mobile marketing as I can find since my familiarity with it provides me with enough knowledge to know that even experienced marketers are going to need some training.  They’ll need education in the various methods of mobile marketing, how those methods work, what they cost, and which method will be most effective for reaching their particular target audience.  As a source that small businesses turn to for information, I want to be able to provide that information  in an easy-to-understand way, so over the next few weeks I will be developing a series of blog posts that focus on different aspects of mobile marketing to help make it easier for the average small business owner or marketing practitioner to understand.

Second, I have scheduled a panel discussion with a group of mobile marketing experts on an upcoming segment of my BlogTalkRadio show, ‘Strategic Marketing Concepts for Small Business’.  This segment will air on Tuesday, April 14th at 2:30 p.m. EDT.  Panel members are still being finalized so more information on this will be provided within the next few days, however, let me assure you I am VERY excited about the experts that have offered to participate as they are some of the industry’s leading experts – and I’m quite confident that listeners will leave the broadcast with a great deal of useful information.

Third, I found an interesting mobile tool and decided to try it out.  There is an online program by the name of Mofuse (which can be found at www.mofuse.com) that will take your existing blog and convert it to a mobile-compliant site so it can be more easily viewed on cellphones – and it’s FREE!  Therefore, I have taken each of my blogs and entered them into the system to try out the program.  They can be viewed at the following mobile web addresses:  http://strategicgrowth.mofuse.mobi and http://hrconcepts.mofuse.mobi and http://marketingwithnewtechnology.mofuse.mobi .  You can either access them at these addresses directly from your cell, or you can enter the addresses into the web where you will be brought to a page on which you can enter your cell phone number and have the site sent to your phone via text message.  The idea I’m pursuing is making blogs easier to read from wherever you are, thereby increasing the small business owner’s access to potential customers.  Have a look at the blogs via mobile and let me know what you think!

As we delve deeper into the topic of mobile advertising over the course of the next few weeks, I am confident that many of you will be intrigued by the wide variety of ways in which mobile marketing can be utilized to promote your business.  Today, it’s cutting edge stuff; tomorrow, it will become as standard to us as email is today.  So if you’ve ever chastised yourself for waiting too long to take advantage of new technology in promoting your business, follow with us over the next several weeks and this time, be one of the first instead of one of the last!

For additional information on Mobile Marketing, or to learn how we can help you develop a Mobile Marketing campaign for your firm, please contact us via our website or email us at info@strategicgrowthconcepts.com

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 Strategic Growth Concepts is a Detroit-based firm that provides training and consulting services to start-up, small and mid-sized businesses in the areas of Start-up, Marketing, Operations, HR and Strategic Planning.  The firm’s CEO, Linda Daichendt is a recognized business expert with 20+ years of corporate, small business and franchising experience.  Linda can be contacted at linda@strategicgrowthconcepts.com , and the company website can be viewed at www.strategicgrowthconcepts.com.

Email Newsletter Programs are Strong Marketing Performers March 23, 2009

Posted by StrategicGrowth in email marketing.
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Small business owners are always in search of cost-effective, time-efficient ways to keep in touch with existing clients/customers, and the internet provides us with a variety of ways in which to achieve that. One method of maintaining regular customer contact is the use of an Email Newsletter program. Using such a program enables your clients to maintain an on-going awareness of your firm, so they remember your firm when they finally have a need for a service such as yours instead of seeking out another firm because they forgot about you.

The use of an Email Newsletter program provides a variety of benefits to your firm, including:

  • A regularly scheduled communication program to remind your clients/customers that you are available to service them
  • A method of communicating new services/products, new staff members with areas of expertise which might be of interest to clients/customers, recent awards or recognition received by your firm, education/information about the latest industry developments
  • A communication that is professional in appearance and helps to reinforce your firm’s branding message
  • A communication that can link clients/customers back to your website or blog in areas that will be of particular interest to them.

Elements of an effective email newsletter include:

  • short, easy-to-read articles
  • photographs
  • interesting, attention-grabbing headlines
  • special limited-time offers for newsletter-readers only
  • information relevant to your industry (statistics and graphs are always interesting)
  • communication regarding new products or services being offered by your firm
  • company information of interest such as new staff, awards, new offices, community participation programs, etc.
  • links to your website or blog that provide greater detail on articles discussed in the newsletter.

Obviously, the use of a professional-appearing Email Newsletter presents some challenges for business owners who do not have HTML programming skills. Luckily Web 2.0 technology has provided us with a variety of resources that enable a small business to send a professional-appearing newsletter with only the most basic of computer skills. Services such as Aweber, Constant Contact and Ennect provide user-friendly, web-based email tools that enable any business owner to develop a professional email program extremely cost-effectively. Added benefits of using such a service are that they insure that you maintain compliance with the anti-spam laws, and they increase the potential that your newsletter will reach the customer’s inbox and actually be read.

Try an Email Newsletter program for 6 months as a test; track who it was sent to, who reads it and which articles they read (the software programs will provide reports), and who you receive additional business from. Compare your cost per person of implementing the program with the revenue you receive as a result of implementing the program to determine your ROI (return-on-investment). Then compare your Email Newsletter ROI with the ROI for other marketing programs you are implementing to determine its cost-effectiveness for your firm. I’m betting it will be one of your top-performing programs!

The New Basics of Marketing March 4, 2009

Posted by StrategicGrowth in mobile, Social Media, Web 2.0.
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What you need to know about: websites, email, mobile phones, social networks, viral video, blogging.

Inc. Online, February 2008

By: Leigh Buchanan, Max Chafkin, and Ryan McCarthy

The world of marketing is radically different than it was only a few short years ago. From viral video to text-message campaigns and avatar sales reps, marketing tools that only recently seemed rare and futuristic are quickly becoming commonplace.  They’re the New Basics.

Mainstream marketing was invented by big companies to convey simple messages to the masses. New marketing, in contrast, is about complexity and individuality. There are, for example, 100 million blogs worldwide. No matter how small the market for your products or services, one of those blogs probably serves it.

But though today’s marketers have more choices in terms of the tools they use to reach customers, their jobs aren’t getting any easier. With an explosion of new offerings, it’s hard to know when and how best to spend your marketing dollars. In compiling this report, Inc. looked for developments that are new and creative but also effective and affordable–and, of course, well suited to nimble, entrepreneurial companies. Use them creatively, and you just might transform your business.

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What Social Media Marketers Can Learn from Email Marketing and In-person Marketing February 28, 2009

Posted by StrategicGrowth in Social Media, Web 2.0.
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Are you still trying to figure out the “do’s” and “don’ts” of social media marketing? Be assured, you’re not alone. As the social networking community continues to grow at an ever-increasing pace, marketers and small business owners are challenged with learning how to apply standard marketing principles to this new medium.

One of the challenges of social media is that it doesn’t respond well to “advertising”. Social media marketing needs to be more subtle. It’s about networking to build a reputation as an expert, and then having your expertise sought out. To give you a relevant example, many of you attend networking meetings for your Chamber of Commerce or various trade associations. When you attend those functions do you walk in wearing a sign that says “buy from me”? Or, do you take a more subtle approach by trying to meet new people, learn about what they do, offer a free bit of advice here and there, and build relationships that down the road will result in new business? If you’re like most people, you follow the second option and with that being the case, why would you not apply that same strategy to social networking? You would – and you should!

Additionally, since email marketers have already traversed a path similar to that now being explored by social media marketers, there are a great many lessons that can be learned by reviewing email marketing strategies and the results which were achieved. A recent article by Stephanie Miller, published in MediaPost online publications, explores the email media / social media comparison and provides some interesting lessons to help you improve the results from your social media marketing strategies. This article can be found on our website.