‘A Little bit of this and a little bit of that…gets you a whole lot of nothin!’

More than any other recurring theme we see as an agency when engaging with our clients for the first time, is the fragmentation within their own marketing strategy.

The reason this happens is two-fold. First, there are many eager sales reps in the market place, each tasked by upper-management to sell this or that, this month (which will change next month). I know because I’ve been there, and you really can’t fault the reps, they’re just trying to make some money.

The second reason is typically the business owner, or the person in ‘charge’ of marketing doesn’t really have the time or vision to look beyond today’s challenge in order to lay out a proper campaign that looks long term and focuses on the target market.

So the reps come in, make a good pitch and the owner or marketing person says, ‘OK, I’ll try it’. Just like that another piece is added to the puzzle, more resources are sapped and the expectations bar is raised a little higher.

A large majority of the time, the results are dismal. The advertisers blame the reps for something that ‘didn’t work’, and reps defend their product by saying either the advertiser did not give it enough time, or didn’t put the proper support behind it.

The fact is that there is rarely a situation where one marketing or advertising solution ‘works’, all on it’s own. If you’re talking lead-generation (like with selling cars or homes) there are plenty of sites/search engines that can deliver good results without much help, but the typical brick and mortar businesses, that need to get people in their doors, requires a well-rounded campaign in order to be successful.

We recently helped a car dealership in Miami by conducting a free media audit. It was probably the first time the owner ever sat down and put an ROI to every bit of advertising they were doing. After that meeting, not only did we reallocate about $20,000 in wasteful spending, but we are now creating a campaign so that all of the parts are working in unison.

I guess you can rephrase the title of this blog entry another way: “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts!” This is where an experienced ad agency can help trim away the fat, keep you focused on your target market and get the best return on your advertising investment.  If you see yourself in this scenario, give us a call to schedule your free media audit, and let us see what we can do for you.

How to generate over 3,000 ‘Likes’ in less than 5 months, for a completely new business!

I know it sounds like an infomercial but here is a real-world case study, with ‘me’ as the subject matter.

www.CustomCigarBandRings.com (Custom Cigar Band Rings) started out as somewhat of a hobby for me. As a cigar smoker, I always carefully peel the bands off the cigars and onto my fingers while smoking. This prompted the idea to find a way to turn paper cigar bands into actual rings. Working with a local jeweler, we were able to refine a process that made it possible; and now we can turn almost any cigar band into a beautiful custom ring.

With little to no budget to advertise (sound familiar?) I started a custom Landing Page, and a Facebook Fan page.

The first thing I did was to start posting pictures of the rings we created as samples on the Facebook pages of other cigar companies. One such post garnered over 400 “Likes” and just like that, a business was born! In less than one month, I had 1,000 Fans on the CCBR page and the momentum has not let up.

Our page strategy is heavily based around cigar lifestyle pictures, with occasional pictures of our latest rings. We post about once per day, but sometimes as much as four times per day. Engagement on each post is amazing, with many posts getting over 100 likes each.  We also ‘Like’ as many other cigar associated Facebook Fan pages as possible, and make sure to ‘like’ their posts and comment /share when appropriate.  In addition, we advertise on Facebook to the tune of $2.00/day using PPC, and adding all of the keywords/interests that revolve around cigars. The ads perform extremely well, with a lifetime .22% click through rate!

Our off page strategy includes a blog that I set up on Blogger.com, with a bi-weekly post, typically centered around cigar reviews. I also feature other cigar stores in the area, and mention as many local cigar personalities as possible. I use several blog posting services to get it out there and repost the link on my FB and Twitter pages. It has already started to show a dramatic increase in traffic with each post.

The Twitter account we opened is now over 200 followers. We use this primarily to interact with the movers and shakers of the actual cigar industry, and it turns into more of a b2b networking channel, than anything else. The value of this audience for a product like mine is invaluable and has turned into some of our most lucrative sales.

Speaking of sales, this is my favorite part of this post since most people say ‘Social Media is not about ROI’.  Well, our landing page has received 2,424 visits with 215 requests for quotes, that’s a conversion rate of…get this…8.87%! Our closing ratio is about 25%, not to shabby for a strategy that’s not about ROI.  Not to mention, that’s 215 names to my email database, that I now email once per month to keep them engaged with special offers. All of this and I still haven’t integrated YouTube or Google+ to the mix.

I realize certain businesses lend themselves better to social media than others. Vanity items like my rings strike the ‘all about me’ chord often associated with social media, and so, managed correctly can do very well. However, I’m confident that what I’ve done here with this, many other businesses, in different categories can also do, with the right strategy and consistency. If you would like to see how we can help you get real results by integrating a proper social media strategy, please contact me for a free consultation.

5 Reasons why your coupons aren’t working (and why you still keep doing them!)

It seems logical that since ‘everybody’ wants to save money, offering a coupon can entice someone to ‘give you a try’, which turns into increased sales, and new customers.  The age old tradition of coupons seems to be bigger than ever. With the likes of Living Social and Groupon, coupons have reached an all-time high, yet there are many mixed results, let’s review some of the most common reasons why many coupon efforts fail, and how you can make improvements.

1. Nobody knows you – When you offer a coupon and you’re a relatively new company, offering a relatively new product or service, ‘couponing’ your way into the mainstream is not the most effective strategy. First, the perception of a coupon from a company that no one has ever heard of is that the product or service isn’t selling, so they had to discount it. Now you’re giving away your goods because nobody wants them, bad way to start!

2. No perceived value – Picking up on the ‘couponing’ mentality, if the consumer has no perceived value of your offer, it means nothing to them. This effect can come from the first point that nobody knows you, hence they don’t realize the value of your product or service, or your ‘15% Off’ does not entice them because they don’t know what the real savings is.

3. Competing on Price – Everybody wants a good deal, but when you create a business model based on your coupons you are sliding down a very slippery slope. Now you are training your customers (who may be willing to pay full price for the great value, service that you provide), to wait until you have an offer to come in.

4. Promoting ‘cheap’ instead of rewarding ‘loyalty’ – As coupons have the general effect of rewarding the ‘cheap’ to bring in new customers, it often does not create the loyalty you’re looking for. I believe all discounts should be tied into a loyalty program, rewarding consumers for being consistent patrons. This also builds a sense of partnership with your consumers as, they feel appreciated since not everyone who comes in with a coupon can get the same reward they do – hence they earned it.

5. No data – You print a coupon, you get the 1 or 2% conversion, bring in a bunch of customers who just wanted the deal, use the coupon, save the money, cut into your margins (many times coupons are loss leaders), and you never see them again until the next coupon. The worst part of this is that you don’t even know who these people are. You did not collect an email, ‘Liked’ us on Facebook, etc. All coupon offers should have an opportunity to be redeemed online, on your website of landing page, with a simple name and email opt-in so that you can build your database and not start from scratch every time you publish a new coupon.

These are the main reasons why your crazy cycle of coupon marketing is not working, yet you keep doing it.  On the occasional chance that it does work, it does not build up momentum from one offer to the next.

Let us show you a ‘Tradigital’ strategy can increase the results of your couponing by 35% or more, while building your own audience of engaged consumers on your website, email marketing and social media channels.