Archive | November, 2015

5 Reasons Mobile Marketing Works for Small Businesses

30 Nov

Text messaging isn’t just a convenient way to keep in touch with friends. It’s also a powerful mobile marketing tool for small businesses. Most Americans own a cellphone and use their phone to send and receive text messages, also known as SMS messages.

While email marketing is a successful strategy for small businesses,  mobile marketingmobile marketing is shorter, sweeter and, in some respects, much more effective. No wonder more small businesses are jumping on the texting bandwagon: Sixty-nine percent of small businesses recognize mobile marketing as key to their growth over the next five years, and 84 percent that implemented it have seen a resulting increase in new business activity. Here are five reasons why mobile marketing works well.

Your texts are likely to be read instantly

Most cellphone users have programmed their phone to alert them whenever a new text message arrives, and most messages are read within a few minutes of delivery. In fact, an astounding 90 percent of texts are read within three minutes of receipt. This allows you to market your small business in new and novel ways.

Texts are engaging and personal

If you’re like most people, you can’t wait to read a text message when it arrives in your inbox.

This has obvious benefits for business owners. Not only are the consumers on your SMS contact list willing participants in your promotional campaign, but they’re likely to read your message right when you send it. Mobile marketing won’t get your promotion in front of as many people as other modes of advertising, but by delivering your messages directly to engaged consumers – and getting them to read those messages quickly – it delivers great value.

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Thanksgiving Blessings

23 Nov

Today’s blog on Thankfulness is written by David Steinquist, owner of Mediascope for over seventeen years. David has been married for thirty-two years and is the father of three young men.


Happy Thanksgiving, all! I hope that this note finds you all in good health and joyfully reflecting on the year that has, once again, passed by way too fast.

As I write this, it feels like Fall has finally arrived here in Minnesota. We have had a great year for spending time outdoors. The summer was not too hot and the Fall has been mild and longer than normal. I happen to think that Fall is the best time of year to be outside. The colorful fall leaves and mild temperatures make for perfect walks in the woods or for simply enjoying the colors from a living room window.

As Thanksgiving approaches, I think we all spend a little time counting our blessings. AfterThankful all, isn’t that what the first celebrants did? The Pilgrims left Holland in August of 1620 and landed during the Fall in what is now Massachusetts. That first year was brutal for them and a large number of people did not survive. We can be thankful that for us, a brutal year might mean the stock market wasn’t quite what we had hoped it would be, or that we didn’t get a 4.0 in all of our classes. Or something else wasn’t quite up to the expectations we had set. After all, if you are reading this, you made it through the year, so you and I are one step ahead of the Pilgrims.

For me, it really is the simple things in life that I am thankful for. Some of those things are:

  • My family. I truly enjoy spending quality time with all of them. And as the boys get older, now we have fewer and fewer times when we can all get together.
  • I enjoy the challenges and triumphs that come from hard work. Sure, there are some days that I would rather be on vacation but vacation can only last for so long.
  • Living in the USA. Even with all of the turmoil that seems to have sprouted up this last year, I truly believe that as a nation, we are extremely blessed.
  • This nation also allows me to freely worship as I please. I am a Christian, but I appreciate the fact that folks who choose to worship in other ways, or not at all, have that right.
  • You, whoever you are, whether we have met at some point or not. For some reason, you were drawn to my idle ramblings, so I appreciate the fact that you took a few minutes out of your busy day to read my note.

Wherever you are and in whatever circumstances you find yourself in, I pray that you are able to reflect on the blessings you have. Enjoy life and plan for a wonderful 2016. Look positively on your circumstances and be a blessing to those around you.

Just a couple of closing observations, not even closely related to one another.

  • Did you know that George Washington, in 1789, declared Thanksgiving the first National holiday?
  • I can only think of one movie that had a Thanksgiving setting, and it is one of my favorites: Planes, Trains and Automobiles. I get the chuckles just thinking about it. Be a blessing to the Del Griffiths in your life.

Best Email Marketing Tactics

16 Nov

According to MarketingProfs, some 122,500,453,020 emails are sent every hour. Given that staggering number, how can you make your email stand out in a crowded inbox?

A lot of information is available about email marketing best practices. As the old adage says, however, sometimes a picture is worth a 1,000 words.

The following tips from Madison Logic‘s infographic features 10 best-practices that will help get your emails noticed.

The top tip is to craft a subject line that catches people’s attention. Surprisingly, Madison Logic found that punctuation isn’t necessary but capital letters produce a lift in engagement.

What does matter in the subject line is personalization. For example, users are 22% more likely to open an email if they are addressed by their first name.

As for the email itself: “Focus your message to fulfill the promise of the subject line,” Madison Logic suggests.

Here is a look at Madison Logic’s infographic.

ten-best-email-practices-infographic

 

Don’t Be a Spammer: 10 Email Marketing Spam Laws

12 Nov

Email marketing is a valuable marketing tool. It’s inexpensive, quick and easy to set up, and since your customers have given you permission to contact them, they are generally interested in what you have to say. Plus, you’re able to track results to determine which approaches work best for your customers.

Unfortunately, there are companies out there that have exploited email marketing and given it a bad name. Known as spammers, they send emails to anyone they can get their hands on, no matter how they obtained the data.

Laws are in place to prevent this kind of business, mainly through the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. CAN-SPAM is short for Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing and is a play on words to “can,” i.e., get rid of the spam.

Follow these ten tips to stay on the good side of the law and avoid becoming a spammer.No Spam 2

Opt-In is a Must

Be sure you have your customer’s consent to send them emails. A customer’s consent may be oral or written. Keep track of how and when you received permission to contact each person.

Be Truthful in your Header Information

Customers have a right to know who is contacting them, so the “From,” “To,” and “Reply To” lines must represent your company; or specifically, the company or individual who sent the message. Your routing information must also be clear, including the origination domain name and email address.

Don’t Use Deceptive Subject Lines

The subject line must accurately reflect the message’s content. For example, if the offer inside is a 15% discount, the subject line can’t suggest a higher percentage.

Identify The Message As An Ad

Most customers know an advertisement when they see one and will tend to ignore it because of this. Marketers have therefore developed techniques over the years to make messages look more like a recommendation than an ad. However, the CAN-SPAM Act requires you to let your customers know the email is an ad. Again, it’s all about making sure customers aren’t deceived.

Tell Recipients Where You’re Located

This shows your customers you are a real company and gives them another way to contact you. The message must include a valid postal address. This can be your company’s street address, a post office box registered with the U.S. Postal Service, or private mailbox registered with a commercial mail receiving agency established under Postal Service Regulations.

Tell Recipients How To Opt Out Of Receiving Future Emails From You

Email marketing is always about the customer’s choice. It should be their choice to sign up to hearing more from you and their choice to decide they’ve had enough. Make it clear how recipients can opt out of getting future emails from you.

You also need to give a return email address or another internet-based way to allow people to let you know their choice. If you provide a menu of choices so the recipient can choose certain communications and not others, there needs to be a “no communication” option.

Promptly Honor Opt-Out Requests

Make sure your own spam filter doesn’t stop opt-out requests from coming through. Once you’ve received an opt-out request, be sure you honor the request within 10 business days.

You must make opting out as easy as possible which means you can’t charge a fee, require personally identifying information beyond an email address, or make them do anything other than request to opt-out.

Be Sure You Know What Others Are Doing On Your Behalf

It’s no excuse to blame the mistake on someone else, so you must keep a watch over any external company that completes your email marketing for you. Both the company that sends the email and the company that is selling the product or service must comply with the law.

Commercial Email Definition

The CAN-SPAM Act defines commercial email as “any electronic mail message the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service (including content on an Internet website operated for a commercial purpose).”

For the most part, the CAN-SPAM Act only applies to commercial mail, rather than transactional or relationship email. This means that if you send order receipts, warranty information, or changes in membership details via email, you only need to make sure that your routing information is correct. Be careful if you start to add any advertising messages in these types of emails as they could fall under commercial category.

Also think about where the email links to, as your customer’s final destination from your email also counts when deciding if the overall message is commercial or not. Usually your website will fall under this definition of commercial.

Be Careful of Forward-to-a-Friend Schemes

If you offer a link so the recipient can forward the email to a friend, you don’t need to worry about the CAN-SPAM Act. However, if you include an incentive for your customer to forward it, like a discount code or the chance to win a competition, then you become responsible for the sending of that email. Therefore, you need to be very careful about adhering to the rules.

In Conclusion

To make sure you don’t risk breaking the law and upsetting your customers with poor email marketing practices, follow these legal stipulations. At $16,000 per violation per individual email sent,  you really don’t want to get on the wrong side of the law! If you’re unsure about your email practices, the Federal Trade Commission offers this publication which better explains the CAN-SPAM law.

8 Reasons to Think Local – Buy Local – Be Local!

4 Nov

Technology makes it easy to buy services and products from anywhere. Studies show, however, there are many benefits to buying local. Here are 8 reasons to Keep It Local.

  1. Buy Local and Support Yourself: When you buy from an independent, locally owned business Keep it localrather than a regional or nationally owned businesses, your money stays local to make purchases from other local businesses and service providers. This continues to strengthen the economic base of the community.
  2. Reduce environmental impact: Locally owned businesses require shorter transit times for customers and employees. It also means less trucking of services or goods. This means contributing less to pollution and road decay.
  3. Create more good jobs: Small local businesses are the largest employer nationally and, locally, provide the most jobs to residents.
  4. Get better service: Local businesses often hire people with a better understanding of the local impact of products or services they are selling and take more time to get to know customers.
  5. Invest in community: Local businesses are owned by people who live in this community, are less likely to leave, and are more invested in the community’s future. Locally owned businesses build strong communities by sustaining vibrant town centers, linking neighbors in a web of economic and social relationships, and contributing to local causes.
  6. Build a Larger Tax Base: Local businesses pay a large share of the community’s taxes and help offset funds needed for community services such as city administration, rescue personnel, and other community enhancements like road repair and parks. The bottom line? A greater percentage of local independent businesses keeps your taxes lower.
  7. Encourage local prosperity: Entrepreneurs and skilled workers are more likely to invest and settle in communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character. Entrepreneurship fuels America’s economic innovation and prosperity, and serves as a key means for families to move out of low-wage jobs and into the middle class. Also, the multiplier effect created by spending locally generates lasting impact on the prosperity of local organizations and residents.
  8. Enhance Health of Residents: Research shows a strong correlation between the percentage of small locally owned firms and various indicators of personal and community health and vitality. A 2011 study of 3,060 counties and parishes in the U.S. found that counties with a greater proportion of small businesses had lower rates of mortality, obesity and diabetes.

Choosing to buy from local, independently owned businesses provides many well-documented benefits to our communities and to each of us. While it is not always possible to buy local, keeping it local when possible provides many often-hidden pluses. Think Local, Buy Local, Be Local.