Category Archives: Marketing

Business By The Numbers: Smartphones

When mobile phones made it to mainstream use by the late eighties to early nineties, they helped untether people from landlines. You could be reached anywhere, any time, as long as you had good reception and enough battery-power.  In the late 2000’s, smartphones basically gave people pocket-friendly computers with voice and messaging capabilities.

The shift was sudden and market penetration took some time, but it did happen. And ever since smartphones came to be an EDC (Every Day Carry) component for most people, businesses have been scrambling to keep up with and adjust to the new demands and changing consumer behaviors stemming from evolving mobile technology.

How are you taking advantage of this particular communication platform to help build a better relationship with your market? If you’re having trouble forming a plan, here are some numbers to help you out:
Continue reading Business By The Numbers: Smartphones

Marketing With Your Website

The hidden-in-plain-sight truth when you have an online business is that its survival is tied in with how good your marketing is. If you have a product but don’t have a market, your business will fail. If you have a good product and an eager market but fail to communicate the value of your product to your target audience, your business will fail.

Look at the role of your website in marketing: From an online perspective, your website’s goal is to help people find your business.  At the very least it should provide enough information for visitors to see the nature of your business and learn how to get in touch with you. And at the most basic level, your website has to offer information about your products in services in a way that will hook visitors into wanting more information — or guide them into taking action, whether it’s to sign up or make a purchase, something  that your site should also help them do easily.

You need to keep a constant eye on the following aspects of your website and its design, content, and security:
Continue reading Marketing With Your Website

How to Communicate Value To Your Customers

Customers are the bread and butter of any business. They make up your market.

Whether you’re involved in business-to business or business-to-consumer (B2B or B2C) sales,  you have  products or provide a service tailored for a specific market.  Without a market, there won’t–can’t–be a business. You use marketing and advertising to inform your customers that you have  products that can provide them with what they want, and help them with what they need.

Customers buy things to fulfill a need. Customers buy thing they believe will give them what they need, or help them get what they want. Customers want value. If they believe your product doesn’t have that, they won’t give it another thought, and move on. How do you tell them that your product has that value?

You communicate it to them.

Marketing and advertising influences the perceived value of things. Think about the all-important Unique Selling Proposition (USP), which uses, well, a unique selling point to hook people’s attention in and get them to buy into the product with that USP.   You can check out well-known examples in the articles below.

As an example, think of the booming  exercise and diet  industry.  Remember the many promises, guarantees and statements you’ve ever witnessed in commercials, whether in print or video. Think of home TV shopping and all their infomercials,  and the many sales spiels you’ve heard.  That should drive the point home.

Marketing is reaching out to your customers and informing your market of the value of what your business provides. That’s it. That’s the goal.

Whether it’s services or products, regardless of the platform you use to connect to them, that’s the goal.

To get back to our example, home TV shopping segments may come across as hard-selling to you, but they certainly know how to put the product benefits forward for the viewers, right?

And get this: QVC and HSN, the two biggest home shopping channels, have been running since 1985 and 1986, respectively. Any business that survives and lasted for the past thirty years and successfully adapted  to the massive industry changes brought about by the internet knows how to reach out to its customers.

What about you? How do you communicate with your market? Continue reading How to Communicate Value To Your Customers

Is Affiliate Management Right For You?

16 August 2013, by A. Cedilla

One of the most effective ways to earn money online is by affiliate marketing programs. When a big business decides to make more money by sharing it with people who refer business their way, everybody wins, including the end customer. Amazon kicked off this now-common business model when it started paying websites owners for directing customers to their site, and the idea (and its supporting technology) has been refined considerably since its early start. With the powerful software available today, it’s simple to set up an affiliate program.

Now if you want to check on examples of affiliate programs online, you’d be overwhelmed with data. For large scale models, the best and the original would be Amazon.com. Chances are you may have been a customer at some point in the past, so with that mindset in reserve, you can go examine how Amazon does it from a merchant’s point of view. It is, after all, the largest online marketplace, so they must be doing more than a few things right.

Affiliate programs are helpful more than just financially. When you run one of your own, your affiliates all get their own personal affiliate link to track their referrals and help figure out their commissions. Those link go back and point to your site. The more links you have, the better your link popularity –which can bump up your page rank in the search engines.

You don’t, however, get all those benefits without laying out some serious planning and effort.

Now, there are different kinds of affiliate programs out there. The common denominator is that they will pay for referrals, the differences lie in how and what they pay for, precisely.

You need to know what you want to happen with your products, services and business model. You have to factor in your market, your business goals and then check if running such a program is right for you. Continue reading Is Affiliate Management Right For You?

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Email Systems

21 July 2013, by A. Cedilla

How do you communicate with your clients, partners, suppliers and coworkers when you’re scattered in different timezones and countries? Email, of course.

Email is a crucial form of communication in business to keep people on the same page, if not in the same time zone, and it definitely has serious built-in advantages.

It’s fast. Sometimes the time ‘efficiency’ factor can make for some impatient people sending follow-up emails in premature order, or at the most inopportune hours, setting you up for ridiculous expectations and very full in-boxes (people still need to sleep, right? Ever get a follow-up email at 2:30 AM asking about a report?)

It’s cost effective. One click, send to many. No postage and handling, no stack of address stickers, no roll of stamps, or a trip to the post office with a bag of bundled snail mail to stand in line.

It’s easy. Write, check for sense, spelling and grammar, and then send (the middle part isn’t really optional, no matter how tired you are.)

On a personal level, email is an easy way to keep in touch with people. On a business to business level, it helps keep people informed and moving as a unit. On a business-to-consumer level, it is one of the cornerstones of keeping in contact with your market.

With a mailing list, your message can be sent to thousands instantly. Unlike the mass mailing before the internet was created, you don’t have to wait days or weeks for your point to get across, and then same again to get the replies.

With email auto-responders, you don’t even have to be the one doing the mailing and the follow-ups, a convenience many now take for granted.
(As long as you don’t spam people, that is.)

As with all kinds of communication, you only get to make a good first impression once. In face to face meetings, how do you ensure that?

  • You introduce yourself.
  • You conduct yourself politely and appropriately.

Via email, this takes some fancy footwork. Either someone is recommended to you, they up and introduce themselves, or they have to ask permission to send you anything. If it’s your business, you definitely have to ask their permission to send them anything. Continue reading How To Get The Most Out Of Your Email Systems

Dealing With List Fatigue

25 October 2008, by A. Cedilla

Part 2 of 2

Admit it, we all like to look at our email stats, especially when we have good open rates and our list size is increasing. But if you notice that your list is growing smaller or your open rates have gone down, what do you do?

When your subscribers don’t open your emails anymore, it’s known as list fatigue. They’re not exactly unsubscribing, and yet they’re not opening your emails. Why is this happening? Without taking into account the bounces, here are some probable causes:

1. Perhaps they’re no longer interested in the subject of your emails. They may have new interests, and there’s not a whole lot you can do about that.

2. Are the spam filters catching your emails? Make sure you’re not using words that the filters think are spam. Do a search for the current list of spam words and find other ways to say the same thing.
Continue reading Dealing With List Fatigue

3 Tips to Start Your Opt-In List

23 October 2008, by A. Cedilla

Part 1 of 2

After hearing the stories of people successfully creating a profitable business with opt-in lists, a bell rang in your head and you realize that you can also use this way to make money on the Internet.

After you’ve pored over dozens of articles on the subject and read expert advice, you finally decide to take the step and start an opt- list of your own. But how do you get started? And better yet, how do you build a list big enough to generate an income from?

It can be pretty nerve-wracking when you first start out. Questions bubble up: Do you need a web site? What about an opt-in form? Should you use an autoresponder service or a script on your own site? How should you format the messages? How many should you send a week? The list goes on and on.

The answers to a lot of these questions will depend heavily on how experienced you are on the Internet. If you have no knowledge of CGI or PHP then hosting your own script may not be an option. If you don’t know HTML or don’t have direct access to your on-line files, then editing your pages to insert the code for an opt-in form will be quite difficult.
Continue reading 3 Tips to Start Your Opt-In List

Back To Basics: Affiliate Marketing Benefits

02 September 2008, by A. Cedilla

Many entrepreneurs, micro-enterprises and companies use affiliate marketing as the quick solution to getting relatively low cost, highly focused traffic to their websites or to a “warm-up” site that boosts the chances of a customer actually buying something from the main site.

The affiliate marketing solution is a solid and very effective web marketing method which helps reduce a company’s overall marketing costs in the following ways:

  • Because the company only pays for quality performance , they don’t have to shoulder the usual costs and problems included in using permanent workers, like taxes, health insurance, benefits, absenteeism, etc;
  • It’s the most efficient use of outsourcing available now, where the company pays for a service on a microscopic scale which eliminates outsourcing companies adding a mark-up to cover risks taken or money invested.

 

Affiliates
Affiliates are prepared to risk and the first to take advantage of new emerging trends and technologies where more established advertisers do not dare to be active, and it is this nimble economy that affiliates can best earn their money. Why?

Continue reading Back To Basics: Affiliate Marketing Benefits

Back To Basics: Affiliate Marketing

01 September 2008, by A. Cedilla

Online affiliate marketing has become by far one of the most effective, efficient and easiest ways to make your products and brand known, and make money at the same time. It’s also considered a very profitable and beneficial revenue sharing business relationship between the affiliate marketer and the merchant.

 

What is affiliate marketing?
Simply put affiliate marketing is a revenue sharing agreement between a business owner – the merchant – and a website owner -the affiliate. The website owner agrees to promote the products or services and the merchant who offers them. He advertises the merchant’s products or services on his site– you may remember various ads, links and banners on websites or popular blogs you’ve just visited — and in return gets a commission for every successful referral.

 

Every time a prospect is referred to the merchant’s web site through the affiliate’s efforts and makes a purchase (pay-per-sale method) or visits (pay-per-click method) or registers (pay per-lead method) he earns a commission. Unless one of these actions takes place the merchant does not pay anything.
Continue reading Back To Basics: Affiliate Marketing

Back To Basics – The Ins and Outs of Networking

25 August 2008, by A. Cedilla

It’s impossible to be in any sort of business today –virtual or otherwise– without having heard the term ‘networking’. Seen as the heart of business (after all, you can’t conduct a business all by your lonesome), it’s said that you either know how to network or you don’t. And if you don’t know how, you shouldn’t even try attempt it.

Ha!

Firstly, networking is essential to any business – whether on-line or off-line. The business you get from personal referrals can be some of the best business you ever do — with excellent work you get satisfied customers that can act as walking, talking billboards for you, promoting your service to their friends and acquaintances, who then would probably be convinced to hire you before they even get to know you personally.

And it’s not just for, say, lawyers and accountants; for example – when you find a leaky pipe in the basement, how do you pick a plumber to come in and fix it? Will it be someone you had heard good things about before? Maybe you don”t know anyone, so you call a friend and ask if they know anyone who does good work and charges fair prices? Bam! Joe Plumber just got the business of fixing your pipes through networking.
Continue reading Back To Basics – The Ins and Outs of Networking