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Social Media Tools to Live For!

Let’s be honest sometimes simple is best when you are managing your own social media networking. Our Naples Marketing Firm’s social media experts know the tricks of the trade, but even we like simple when time is money.

With social media marketing, planning ahead saves you time so you might be able to put that cell phone down occasionally and put a smile back on your face!

Our Favorite, Easy Social Media Tools

Hootsuite – an All-in-One Tool
A favorite tool with our Naples Marketing Firm that allows you to schedule status updates. Connect to Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare, LinkedIn and other social media accounts in one spot.

Save yourself hours of posting by scheduling status updates for multiple social media accounts at one time. Our marketing firm for example manages dozens of clients social media account and Hootsuite saves us on average 4 hours per client each week.

Social media marketing, naples marketing firm, dreamfly marketing

Hootsuite Report on DREAMFly's Usage of Keyword: Marketing

Hootsuite also provides you with statistical data (as pictured above), live view of your connections’ status updates and the ability to comment and track replies.

There is a free version for access up to 4 social media accounts or a professional version with fees beginning at $5.99 per month to access more than 5 accounts. The free version is just as effective for managing online marketing strategy.

Twitter’s Advanced Search Tool Magic
Twitter’s search tool is amazing. You can search for keywords, people, users, by location. You name it. You can find it. Why would you want to search Twitter you ask for those of you still not hooked on this social media giant? You can find out if people are looking for YOUR services and where – what better business development tool?

Tweet Stats Gives Insight
Wondering whose tweets you respond to and who responds to yours? TweetStats arms you with information about exactly what is happening with your account. Below is a report we produced on DREAMFly Marketing’s Twitter account.

TweetStats, DREAMFly Marketing, social media marketing

TweetStats Report on DREAMFly Marketing

Page Lever is Your Personal Researcher
Page Lever can become your personal research guru for your Facebook accounts. Many people complain they aren’t reaching enough fans of their professional page and Page Lever helps you discover why.

Page Lever, social media marketing, Naples marketing firm

Page Lever shows you which status updates have the most impact and you can track them by time and interaction. If you want to know the effects of your status updates, the key is to use this research tool to determine what failed, why and connect the dots.

Social Media Marketing Strategy
Marketing strategy is your key to online and offline promotions success. Without strategy, you are blind.

Our Naples Marketing Firm’s team plans for clients by matching their branding or message tone to a strategy that will reach their followers. Tracking the results is just as important as posting the status updates and executing the strategy. Track your success!

Remember it’s not just about the number of followers! Most of the time a Facebook status update only penetrates 7% to 20% of your followers, so it’s about making quality connections. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.

Share your favorite social media marketing tools with us by commenting.

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Economy vs. Business

As the U.S. economy shows more volcanic symptoms of a meltdown, debate begins over the financial outlook. The business climate for the 2011 fourth quarter and outlook for 2012 is shaky but manageable.

In this article, you’ll learn 3 Hot Marketing Tips to Weather the Economy…but first the data you care about: finances.

2011 fourth quarter financials, US financial outlook, business outlook for 2012, naples marketing firm

Political cartoon by Nate Beeler of the Washington Examiner

2011-2012 Economic Weather

In May 2011, President Obama reported unemployment claims were down, but just as quickly on in August CNN reported joblessness had increased at a continuous and alarming rate.

On, Aug. 18, 2011, Bank of America, one of the largest banks, announced a plan for a 3,500 employee lay off by September 2011. Since this post, Bank of America announced 30,000 layoffs over the next 10-15 years. The United States Postal Service is even considering cutting 120,000 jobs!

Financial expert Susie Orman reported on CNN on Aug. 18, 2011 that is no way to avoid a second recession in the fourth quarter of 2011 and offered survival advice.

Wall Street Journal reported on Aug. 19, 2011:

“The U.S. economy is showing new signs of fatigue, depressing financial markets, discouraging consumers and unsettling businesses.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 419.63 points, or 3.7%, Thursday [Aug. 18, 2011], and is down 9.5% for August [2011] amid soaring trading volume and some of the worst volatility on record.”

Read the Wall Street Journal story

The New York Times on Sept. 7, 2011 following the original publish date of this blog reported there are true recession concerns.

Marketing for the economy requires finding a boat to weather the storm the U.S. is likely to ride through 2015, according to some.

As a Naples marketing firm serving up branding dreams for businesses across the United States, like you, our company wants to do more than float. Businesses need profits and strategic marketing solutions help overcome concerns.

3 Strategic Marketing Tips to Weather The Economy

  • Focus on Your Business’s REAL Talent – Don’t Dilute Focus

    Don’t specialize in computers if your talent is primarily printers. HP plans to phase out all computer manufacturing through 2013 to return to its roots with printers and B2B services. Great advice!

    What’s your company’s real talent?

  • Trim Marketing. Don’t Cut It.

    Foot traffic, sales and promotions are directly connected to a consumer’s likelihood to spend money with your business. You MUST spend money on marketing, even if you need to reduce spending.

    It’s often a $25,000 savings to hire a marketing firm to do the same as a strategic marketing staff member would.

    Also negotiate with your local advertising representatives to see if they can reduce ad costs or threaten to remove your advertising. In tough times, advertising reps will wheel and deal except at larger papers who generally have fixed rates.

  • Develop Free Promotions Using Free Media

    Free promotions includes using Foursquare, GoWalla, Yelp, Business Facebook Pages and Twitter to encourage clients to check into your facility, which advertises your company to their followers. Allow check-ins to qualify them for a Grand Prize Draw.

    Don’t forget every business must collect customer emails and ask if they’d like to receive communication. Strategic marketing 101.

    Email them your blog, your deals and your fun check-in promos.

    This invigorates your existing client base to tell others about you and attracts your customers’ friends via social media buzz.

Use these tips, because marketing for the economy means finding a balance.

Lose your traditional vision and think like the consumer you are. Be creative.

Be safe in these turbulent times. Leave your comments and questions below!

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What’s Your Marketing Return-On-Investment?

marketing roi, roi, naples marketingDo you have any idea what your business’s real gain is from your marketing?

The Truth About Marketing Value
….is if you don’t market your business your revenues could tank. Marketing success is essential.

Unless your customers are so passionate they are willing to advertise for you through solid and positive referrals, marketing is key to growing business.

Our Naples marketing firm has clients with various needs and one of our favorites, Kelly Roofing, spends very little on marketing. What Kelly Roofing does spend demands a 200% ROI (Return-On-Investment). So how do you get a 200% ROI?

Without ROI you are wasting your effort and money, so our Calculating ROI section lays it all out

Calculating ROI
2 + 2= 4
Math is simple, but marketing math can get tricky. We recommend using a simple format.

How to recognize ROI or Return-On-Investment
It’s easy to recognize advertising ROI when a business first opens, because you can count customers walking through the door.

But, for existing businesses, tracking ROI becomes a little more difficult. An innovative, exciting strategic marketing plan may make you tingle, but don’t you want to know if it’s working?

The Math
Press Releases:
$100-$250 – Calculate ROI by converting all media coverage to dollars saved (use the advertising rates of each media outlet)

Ask new customers how they heard of you and track these results. Review the results quarterly and make adjustments to advertising as necessary. Don’t advertise because you read the magazine – advertising because the readers are YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE!

Easy Marketing Changes to Improve ROI
advertising roi, marketing roi, roi, naples marketing firmSometimes it’s not about dollars. It’s about increased awareness. ROI can be focused on sales or long-term brand building, but math is a necessary evil.

From the book What Sticks by Rex Briggs and Greg Stuart on Dove soap improving its advertising ROI:

“Our research showed that there was a significant opportunity to boost results without spending a single dollar more. For Dove Nutrium Bar (a premium bar soap product), a 14 percent gain in consumer purchase intent [which has a strong correlation to sales] could be achieved simply through rebalancing the advertising mix among television, magazine, and online advertising.”

What Sticks, page 27

McDonald’s some years ago noticed its television advertising wasn’t working and in looking at its national advertising run, researchers realized ads were running at times people were least hungry. They moved the ads and sales improved 30%! Whether a Naples marketing focus or a big city, results are possible.

Create and buy advertising using your consumer’s eye not your own. Patting yourself on the back does not motivate consumers. Our Naples marketing firm says cut through all the bologna and be real.

Capture attention with truth, honesty and a clever strategy…you only have ONE CHANCE. Strategic marketing still needs a return, period.

Embrace knowing your successes and failures so you can boost business!

Leave your comments and questions below. Are you calculating ROI? Tell us how.

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Crazy QR Codes Broken Down Simply

In last week’s blog, guest blogger Blase Ciabaton, discussed direct mail and how to make it relevant by using QR Codes. Some of you asked for expanded information on QR codes.

Defining a QR Code
QR codes are ‘Quick Response Codes’. It’s just like placing a link on your web site, but a QR code appears as an invisible, machine-like link.

naples marketing, marketing strategy, dreamfly marketing

Use your smart phone to scan this QR code as a special thank you. You'll need QR Droid or another application to scan the code.

It’s easier to learn by DOING – get out your application-based smart phone (iphone, Androids etc.). Scan the QR code to the right and see where it takes you! It will not install anything on your phone or collect information.

Businesses are using QR codes, but the trick as with all marketing tactics is strategy.

What can QR codes link to?
It is a way to surprise website visitors or consumers receiving a printed piece with your QR code something very special that perhaps you aren’t sharing with everyone, like an invitation-only web page.

QR codes can link customers to:

  • SMS a message to cell phone users up to 140 characters allowing them to opt in and receiving your promos
  • Plain text to deliver a message
  • A web site – you can create an invitation-only page just for your QR code customers
  • QR code, qr codes for restaurants, naples marketing firm, marketing strategy

    JagTag produced this QR Code Campaign for a Restaurant Client

  • An online document such as a pdf file or e-book
  • A photo
  • Coupons perhaps if you are running ads on Naples’ Bloc Deals or nationwide Groupon

Producing a QR code does nothing unless you call people’s attention to it.

JagTag is a company that has set the tone for national brands and QR Codes by removing up to 60% of the mechanical looking design converting the codes to look more brand savvy as pictured right.

Make QR Codes part of your marketing strategy.

Where in the World Do I Display QR Codes?
Recently two national brands have used QR codes in interesting methods.

Cool Uses of QR Codes
On cupcakes for a special event, on printed materials to give to customers, on your business’s front door. Use them. Incorporate them…otherwise you are wasting your time.

QR Code Usage Hits
QR Code design, movie poster QR codes, naples marketing, marketing strategy

Brilliant use of QR Code to launch a movie.

QR Codes on food, qr codes for restaurants, naples marketing, marketing strategy

Clever! QR Code printed on sugar cube for a special event serving food.

QR Code at businesses, marketing strategy, naples marketing

Display a QR Code with Google Places at your business's front door. Customers will connect.

Disney qr codes, naples marketing, marketing strategy

Disney is still King. Look closely they deleted part of the QR Code as we suggested and recreated the character's faces. Brilliant!

National Brands Using QR Codes Successfully

estee lauder illluminator, naples marketing, qr codes, jagtags

2011 product launch by Estee Lauder used JagTags or QR Codes.

1. Estee Lauder launched its new Idealist Illuminator (spot lightening) serum with customer hand out or point-of-sale cards at the makeup counters displaying a QR Code that took customers to a web page explaining the product and airing a TV commercial.

Their strategy was to capitalized on their existing television advertising and provide the consumer with confidence in purchasing the new skin treatment. It worked!

2. IHOP printed a QR Code on its place mats taking customers to a web page to sign up for special IHOP deals – what a reward!

Consumers may not like to share their information but these days if it means a deal – they’re in!

QR Codes are not the end-all marketing answer, but if properly incorporated with marketing strategy QR Codes will increase web site traffic or increase business foot traffic PLUS YOU CAN PRODUCE A CODE FREE!

How are you using QR Codes or what questions do you have? Post here!

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Pack a Smiling Punch With Your Customer Service

It’s a simple technique to win the hearts and minds of customers. Customer service must be a well oiled machine so customers become loyal, which is a major challenge in today’s fast market.

The 1, 2, 3 Connect of Customer Service

  1. Create Customer Service Program Standards
  2. Script Staff Phone Call Opening and Closing Comments
  3. Hire Secret Shoppers
  4. Creating Customer Service Standards
    Employees answer the phone friendly, but are you really connecting with customers?

    Standards should include:

    • Number of rings phone must be answered if there’s no automated voicemail service
    • Greeting staff must use when answering the phone
    • Quick answer list for potential questions within reason
    • Closing script for staff to use when ending a phone call
    • Opening and closing statements in email, on the phone or online should include a business’s slogan
    • Follow up phone call guide – when to follow up and when it is not needed
    • Secret shopper program (more discussion later)

    Standards create a strategic marketing measurement for a business’s customer service performance.

    customer service, naples marketing firm, customer service standards

    Cute Doesn't Cut It. Get Serious About Your Customer Service.

    When customers call your business, they should be greeted within two to three rings by a person who sounds like they are happy and smiling and ready to help.

    Collier Spay Neuter Clinic in Naples, Florida recently performed a complete overhaul on its customer service program further integrating its customer service standards into employees job performance goals. Our Naples marketing firm helped them match customer service standards to Collier Spay Neuter Clinic’s new branding and strategic marketing plan.

    Millions of businesses need to make the customer service shift!
    It can be as simple as directing staff to say, “I’ll find the answer and get back with you today,” as opposed to saying “I’m sorry I don’t know.”

    Often upset customers receive the traditional “I’m sorry. There’s nothing I can do,” answer, and it infuriates them.

    How does your staff speak to an upset customer?
    Does staff listen, argue or cut in? Customer service programs must include a guide for handling upset customers which directs staff to listen and then state, “This issue is also important to me; let me see what I can do to help.” This takes us to the next section: creating customer service scripts.

    Script Customer Calls
    Scripting the greeting and closing of a phone calls sounds tricky for many small businesses, but when is the last time you called a company like HP, Dell or Toyota and not received a scripted answer?

    As impersonal as scripts can be, scripting greetings and closings for telephone calls improves customer service. Customer service standards and scripting set the tone for company staff and the caller for the phone call.

    Sample Customer Service Scripts

    For answering customer telephone calls:
    “Thank you for calling Company A where we are (insert slogan). How may I assist you today?”

    For ending a positive customer phone conversation:
    “Again thank you for calling Company A. We value your business and looking forward to hearing from you again soon.”

    For ending an upset customer phone conversation:
    “Thank you for calling Company A. We do value your business and it is our goal to provide you the best possible customer service. Is there anything else I can do to improve your experience with us?…..Thank you for your continued business and thank you for calling.”

    These are samples only. Scripts should be developed to create the “feel and look” of your particular brand.

    Customer Service Secret Shoppers
    There is no better tool than secret shopping to ensure your staff is following the established customer service standards.

    Secret shopping allows you to create situations for shoppers and to analyze staff’s performance whether in person, in email or through a telephone call. Measure customer service with at least basic secret shopper survey questions:

    • Who helped you?
    • Did they seem distracted or focused (staff)?
    • How did this same person help other customers? (for in-person secret shoppers)
    • Did the staff member answer your questions and seem knowledgeable – explain?
    • How would you classify the staff member’s work attitude? (provide 4 choices to shopper)
    • How you would classify or describe your customer service experience? (provide 4 choices to shopper)
    • What do you feel staff did correctly and what can they improve? (leave area for shopper to write)

    There are professional secret shopping companies, and most full service marketing firms organize secret shopping for companies.

    Connect Before It’s Too Late
    Customer service standards sound too big to tackle, but getting ahead of your customer service issues before they arise, gives you a marketing strategy and solution to retain existing customers.

    Solid customer service keeps consumers returning. Customers want to matter and would choose better service over cheaper prices.

    How do you make customers matter?

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