We’re at the point of the holiday season where people are focused on shopping, and holiday traffic is expected to be larger than ever. Many stores are opening their doors on Thanksgiving this year to accommodate the rush of shoppers.
The latest Online Insights study asked 993 US online adults about how and when they plan to shop for the holidays, and the results couldn’t be more positive for mobile. Nearly one-half of consumers will use a smartphone to shop this year, up 51% from the 2012 study.
Capturing the Holiday Rush
The answer is simple: mobile. Imagine being able to capture the holiday shoppers during the slow winter months ahead. Imagine being able to give them special offers for their patronage. Imagine those customers coming back, over and over, simply because you’ve made them feel special for shopping with you. These things and more — that’s what mobile can do.
During the holiday season especially, consumers look for deals. That’s the whole point of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, right? People try to be the first to the store, the first to get in line, the first to get the deals. Mobile can take these deals further.
Offering a special deal to your most loyal customers will make you soar over your competitors. Sales, coupons and promotions are a marketer’s best friend during the season.
What Should I Do?
If you’re a retailer, take advantage of all the mobile shoppers. Shoppers are going to continue looking for deals and discounts into December as they’re finishing up their holiday shopping, so make sure to leverage mobile marketing to reach those consumers by doing the following:
Create a mobile-friendly website for shoppers surfing the Web for deals on their mobile devices.
Issue mobile coupons through text messaging to target the consumers looking for deep discounts.
Implement QR codes at the point-of-sale to encourage customer interaction.
Consider the different ways in which consumers interact on their mobile devices, including peak days of the week and times of day that they browse the Web, send text messages, look for coupons, etc.
Retailers, businesses, and brands— gear up for the holiday season. Shoppers are going to be active on their mobile devices browsing the Web for deals, searching for coupons, and making payments.
Take advantage of users’ increased mobile engagement during the holidays by creating an integrated campaign that reinforces your message, raises awareness, and creates excitement so that consumers will want to engage with your brand.
After the holiday season is over, retailers tend to see a sharp decline in sales. If you utilize the right tools during the holiday season, you’ll be able to reach those customers who came in to shop. Capturing a database of customers who opt-in to receive deals and specials from you during the holidays could prove to be invaluable as you navigate the last months of winter. Offering deals for being a holiday shopper and informing those customers of clearance inventory will bring them back into your store, even after the holidays.
How do you plan to implement mobile this holiday season? Tell us in the comments!
Halloween is in the rear view mirror—and all eyes are on the upcoming holiday season.
If there ever was one, this is the year for mobile. According to our latest Online Insights study, where we surveyed 993 US online adults about how and when they plan to shop for the holidays, nearly one-half of consumers will use a smartphone to shop this year. That figure is up 51% from our 2012 study. Two-fifths will use a tablet for holiday shopping—a 190% increase over last year!
Considering Hanukkah starts before Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday falls in December for the first time since 2008, the respondents to our survey are ready to hit the malls and shop online. In fact, of respondents of who specified when they would shop for holiday gifts, a plurality (44%) says they will start shopping after Thanksgiving. And that means marketers and retailers have distinct opportunities NOW to pinpoint and engage their target consumers.
Remember though—engagement is the key! Presenting captivating creative that allows shoppers to research and compare offerings, find a location where they can purchase products and grab coupons or sales promotion codes should be paramount.
Grab the full “Spending Season 2013” Online Insightshere (PDF), and check out our Spending Season 2013 infographic below.
Marketing starts before you launch a product and never ends once the product is out. Marketing is how your website is designed, how you speak to your clients, how you respond to customer feedback, how you approach customer service and how every employee relates with customers and prospective clients and partners.
Every employee plays a part in communicating your brand story to the public. You are how you respond to everybody else. Marketing doesn’t mean you should break the bank… it just requires creativity. Get it right and you will attract loyal customers, get it wrong and nobody will even know you exist. These are 100 proven marketing ideas that have worked for successful businesses.
1. Create a great product. No amount of marketing is going to make up for a poorly made product.
2. Focus. 50% of strategy is knowing when to say no.
3. Figure out the 10 journalists you want to have see your product before you launch.
4. Offer influencers early access to the product.
5. Create a press kit and keep its contents current-bloggers love it.
6. Give out teaser information about your product prior to launch.
7. Release a compelling promo video.
8. Everything starts with the story.
9. If you don’t have an interesting story, your blogs,videos and tweets will be ignored.
10. The marketing message should resonate with your target customer persona and call them to action.
12. Make a product that you yourself can’t stop using.
13. Launch is a process, not an event, stick with what works.
14. Too many things can go wrong if you bet everything on one award, one demo, or one event.
15. Focus on the processes that will get you real users.
16. Measure, measure, measure.
17. Find ways to bring your target market into the beta test.
18. Once your target market is in the beta test, communicate with them early and often.
19. Commit to creating timeless content.
20. Do not neglect your local media. Even more if your product/service is simple to understand.
21. Learn everything about the target market. The more you understand them, the easier it becomes to predict their behavior.
22. Understand your niche market, know where they are, go find them and introduce your product or story to them.
23. Business is personal. Make it Personal.
24. Try to outsmart your competition not outspend them.
25. Have a contest on your blog/Facebook/Twitter (giveaway something free to create awareness and gain interest)
26. You do not have to use every social media tool out there, find the ones that suit you and use them consistently.
27. Add value. Create a relationship.
28. Design tweets keeping in mind trending hashtags
29. Improve on the successful tactics, reduce or eliminate the unsuccessful and optimize your marketing strategy.
30. Don’t just start a blog. Share information consistently.
31. By all means, have a blog.
32. Adopt and learn from startups that have succeeded in your niche.
33. How about a customer advisory board to help you understand product problems better
34. Maintain an FAQ and address customer concerns.
35. If you’re hoping to send a piece of content viral, set aside some budget to launch it.
36. Respond to comments on reviews about your startup and address issues raised.
37. Communicating consistently with your fans.
38. There is no replacement for learning as you go.
39. Don’t ignore social comments.
40. Listen constantly to what’s being said about you and respond when you have to.
41. Build your network before you need them
42. Make your message memorable with a story that sticks.
43. Forget about you, your product or your company. Focus exclusively in creating a good and interesting story.
44. Be willing to experiment with a video that might not be consistent with your brand image.
45. Market to people who are in control of what they consume
46. Develop a contest that allows users submit their own video or content, which then is made available for others to see.
47. Free makes everyone happy. Share something for free.
48. Don’t be afraid to outsource, just be smart about it.
49. Creating content is only half the battle. Spend as much time as possible promoting your content
50. Pick something novel or unusual about your niche and write about it.
51. Connect with people emotionally – decisions are based on feelings
52. Content marketing shouldn’t take place only on your own site.
53. Develop content for the long tail.
54. Infographics and case studies are typically the most shareable form of content.
55. Produce content at each stage of your customer buying cycle.
56. Get more attention and you’ll get links.
57. For viral marketing to work, it must be completely painless and easy for your prospect or intermediary to pass it on.
58. Do something unexpected.
59. Your marketing goal should be linked to your business goals.
60. Add a link to your customer service emails that makes it easy to tweet
61. Create a very strong emotion. You need to have an opinion, to express an idea with commitment and dedication.
62. Do not try to make advertisements but connect with stories.
63. Don’t just write for engines, write for humans.
64. A good marketing strategy provides specific goals
65. Commit to smarter usage of images in your content.
66. Evaluate performance regularly – internally and externally
67. Anticipate customer’s needs and add before they ask
68. User-generated content is one of the best ways to scale your content marketing.
69. Forget neutral, trying to please everyone, supporting several target groups or any of the many ways to be unbiased.
70. A successful viral campaign comes down to three factors. Idea, Opportunity, Execution.
71. Listen more than you talk.
72. Your team is arguably one of your biggest marketing tools.
73. You can only focus on creating one sort of loyalty at a time, true?
74. Commit to smarter usage of images in your content.
75. Provide exceptionally great customer service.
76. Making promises and keeping them is a great way to build a brand.
77. The cost of being wrong is less than the cost of doing nothing.
78. You have an excellent opportunity to use inbound marketing techniques to bring in new business through targeted LinkedIn communities.
Author of The Icarus Deception, Purple Cow, All Marketers Are Liars, Small Is the New Big,The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick), Meatball Sundae: Is Your Marketing out of Sync?,Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us, Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? and Poke the Box and others.
79. The future belongs to people who can invent, implement, and sell the ideas–the free prizes–that become purple cows.-Seth Godin
80. Marketing is the way your people answer the phone, the typesetting on your bills and your returns policy.
81. People all over the world, and of every income level, respond to marketing that promises and delivers basic human wants.
82. You won’t get it right the first time. Your campaign will need to be reinvented, adjusted or scrapped. Count on it.
83. Companies must create remarkable products and services and let consumers do the marketing themselves to generate a buzz.
84. Tap into those ‘listeners,’ as they will always be interested in what you have to say.
85. Marketing that works is marketing that people choose to notice.
86. People don’t buy what they need. They buy what they want.
90. Marketing is not an emergency. It’s a planned, thoughtful exercise that started a long time ago and doesn’t end until you’re done.
91. At some point, you’re either going to have to stick to your convictions or do what the market tells you. It’s hard to do both.
93. Anything that’s worth being talked about is ‘a remarkable idea,’ and remarkable ideas spread.
94. One disappointed customer is worth ten delighted ones.
95. Companies can no longer rely on mass-media advertising to sell average products to average consumers.
96. Instead of ‘selling’ to a ‘hit and miss’ type of market, tapping into innovators and adapters would always be the right approach.
97. Be topical… write posts that need to be read right now.
98. Don’t promote yourself and your business or your books or your projects at the expense of the reader’s attention.
99. Instead of speed dating your way to interruption, instead of yelling at strangers all day trying to make a living, coordinating a tribe of 1,000 requires patience, consistency and a focus on long-term relationships and life time value.
Whether it’s for email, social networking, search or online shopping, people simply can’t get away from their mobile devices. For marketers, this presents both a steep challenge and an incredible opportunity. How do you engage the right audience, with the right message, at the right time when people have so much control over the information they take in?
Implementing a flawless mobile marketing strategy is no simple task, but these 19 facts should help get you thinking about where to start.
31% of cell internet users “mostly” access the internet via mobile devices. (Pew)
75% of people favor mobile-friendly websites. (SnapHop)
Mobile internet usage is expected to surpass desktop internet usage by 2014. (Microsoft)
Mobile is responsible for 50% of local searches. (Microsoft)
86% of mobile users are on their devices while watching television. (Yahoo)
More than 80% of mobile users claim a fast and reliable experience plays a role in how often they access a mobile website. (Gomez)
24% of users expect a mobile website to load in 3 seconds or less. (Gomez)
13% of mobile users say that they would never return to a mobile app if it did not work the first time. (Gomez)
Between 2010 and 2012, there was a 69% increase in mobile share of web traffic in North America. In Asia, there was a 192.46% increase. (Pingdom)
21% of US tablet owners user their tablets to shop more than once a week. (emarketer)
88% of people use their mobile phone to check email daily. (Return Path)
If all US mobile Internet time was condensed into one hour, 25 minutes would be spent on email. (Return Path)
63% of Americans would close/delete an email that is not mobile-optimized. (Return Path)
Over half of US consumers who have purchased something using a smartphone have done so in response to a marketing message delivered by mobile email. (Return Path)
Mobile subscriptions will surpass World Population this year. (MarketingProfs)
The average American spends almost 3 hours per day socializing on his/her mobile device. (Microsoft)
More than 33% of Facebook users are on Facebook Mobile. (Microsoft)
Half of all Twitter users are on Twitter Mobile. (Microsoft)
US mobile ad spend is estimated to reach $10.83 billion in 2016. (Mobile Marketer)
As a provider of mobile marketing and loyalty services, how do we answer the objection of “I don’t discount to my customers”?
If you’re selling our system as being a “discount” or “coupon” service, you will get a negative, knee-jerk reaction from some merchants. Businesses who over-coupon will find over time that their customers are being taught to only pay discounted prices. When 80% of a merchant’s business comes from 20% of its customers, the last thing we want to do is undermine the merchant’s bottom line by discounting to their most loyal customers on a regular basis.
Our system is a “loyalty” solution, not a “coupon” service. Our Masterminds help to identify and UPSELL customers by providing added value and increased product awareness through regular mobile engagement! Hair Salons, for example, are not interested in discounting hair cuts that frequent customers would have bought at full price. They’re interested in getting that same customer to by a bottle of product in addition to the service. Customers love the idea of receiving additional services for free or at a reduced price because it feels as though they’re getting hooked up with something exclusive and unexpected.
It comes down to customer types at the end of the day. You have your regular customers (whom merchants don’t want to discount to) and you have the irregular customers (whom merchants have had to spend money on to get in the door). Merchants need to understand that the core of loyalty marketing is never to undermine their bottom line, but rather to upsell regulars and increase the frequency of the inactive customer. This is accomplished by targeting the two groups strategically with different offers. Provide greater value without discounts to frequent customers and buy back irregular customers with enticing discounts and offers.
SMS Masterminds does not only provide the technology to accomplish this strategic engagement, but also the training and best practices of loyalty marketing. With over 1.2 million subscribers in our network we must be doing something right!
No more theoretical nonsense, no more existential conversations about whether a good customer would’ve come in anyways if we hadn’t sent that offer to them. These are great late night conversations over a good bottle of scotch, but entrepreneurs are about getting stuff done. To repeat a slightly lame phrase we use in the office, “analysis paralysis” – think too much and do too little.
I’m not going to tell you what to do today. We have a ton of great content on our blog and Facebook page for you to look at. This is a call to action to mobilize your efforts and DO something to build your business. NO action or program is 100% guaranteed, so use your best judgment, get started, evaluate frequently and make adjustments.
Your customers are mobile. I don’t care what business you’re in, if you’re not using mobile to engage people, you’re leaving yourself vulnerable to a competitor who WILL fill that gap. A sale is not a sale until the cash register rings. If you want to count on your customers to remain loyal without reaching out to them, you take a bigger risk than the risk of investing in a program to retain them. The downside of investing in mobile marketing: wasting a little money. The downside of NOT investing in mobile marketing: no more customers.
The greatest opportunity every small business owner has: loyal customers. Invest and protect them and you will thrive, or you can continue to sit on your butt and ‘think about it’.
Mobile marketing is one of the newest types of marketing, yet it actually incorporates elements of some of the oldest and well proven methods. Many of the same rules that apply to other kinds of marketing will apply to mobile marketing too. However, there are some noteworthy differences. This article presents some solid advice on getting the best from this brilliant advertising medium.
If you put maps that are friendly to mobile phones on your site, you can attract local visitors. If a customer want to find you, a mobile map is helpful. Sometimes with so much business being done on the web, it is easy to forget that some people like to go to an actual store.
TIP! Keep your marketing up-to-date and useful. In your zealousness to implement the latest mobile technologies, don’t forget your business is at stake.
Offer something to your customers, and make it worth their while. One way of giving back to your customers is to offer incentives during a mobile marketing campaign. These can be basic things like weather or local events. Coupons can help you increase participation by the consumers in your campaign increasing the value of your marketing efforts.
Social media reigns supreme on the mobile devices of most users, so it is essential to make it a part of your marketing plan. Rewarding customers who share a TwitPic or who forward deals to friends is a great way to expand your customer base. This is a wonderful way to reach clients who haven’t heard of you yet.
When you are gearing your website towards mobile users, remember brevity is a virtue. Mobile device screens are small, so droning on and on about a product just to get more keywords in is annoying to readers. You have to get right to the point and make it short when using mobile marketing.
Customers love to use QR codes in order to interact with their favorite brands, so include them in your campaigns. These QR codes are an excellent way to expand and entice your customers by offering coupons and discounts. They are quite user friendly and simple to capture on cell phone. QR codes allow you to reach out to your customers in an efficient manner, and give them relevant information in a simple way.
Provide content that will be considered valuable by the sorts of customer you’re looking for. Your target audience will expect you to send messages aimed at their needs. If your messages are being targeted towards business owners, you might want to submit vouchers or coupons to nice eateries. If your audience is the middle class family, you would want to send something that is family related.
TIP! Make sure that you add mobile friendly directions and maps to your website. It is becoming more common for people to use their mobiles to find directions.
Work for your target market. To succeed in mobile marketing you need to know the likes and dislikes of your target audience. If you cannot determine what your customers want, you won’t make any profit from them. The key to successful marketing is that you must figure out the basic attributes of your customer; who they are and what they want.
Remember that people who are using a mobile device to see your website will have a harder time navigating. Keep your mobile campaign uncomplicated. This might make it appear simple if you’re using a computer, but the format will be ideal for mobile devices.
Try to make it as easy as possible. Keep it user friendly by keeping the clicks required to a minimum. The keypad on most mobile devices is very small, which makes extensive typing a chore. Keep your campaign to the point.
TIP! Using Multimedia Messaging Service, otherwise known as MMS, you can send out coupons or customer loyalty rewards. Send coupons that contain promotional codes.
While mobile marketing can be a perfect way to get more customers to your business, you need to know that it will cross different platforms in order to make it successful. If your marketing efforts don’t work on all the popular devices, you could lose customers due to technical issues.
You can gain an advantage by keeping an eye on what your competitors have been doing. You need to stand apart from the competition.
No customer base every really changes unless the entire market dictates the change, but remember that mobile customers can come or go due to influences outside of your market. Make sure you are always ahead of technology; it changes quickly. You will be more competitive if your technology is advanced.
TIP! Never randomly message your customers. You should only message them with useful information.
Make it effortless for recipients of your marketing ad to send on and they perhaps they will. Before you publish your promotions, assure they are easy to forward. If you give incentive to forward you will have even bigger returns on your mobile advertising investment.
Try to get as much market intelligence as possible about your target audience, so you can cater to their needs and wants. This will increase the likelihood that your recipients will actually read your message.
Offer relevant information. Remember that your mobile marketing efforts need to be meaningful and have purpose. Make sure the information you give to customers and potential buyers is relevant. Fill the needs and wants of your customers to ensure that they stick with you and continue to buy your products.
TIP! You can develop a mobile application as a part of your mobile marketing plan. The app should contain pertinent information about your niche, and should be set up in a manner that entices people to want it on their phones.
Mobile apps that deliver valuable, targeted information to your customers will boost your mobile marketing efforts. People like apps that provide relevant and useful information. Use the app to advertise your business through links. You can also profit from selling your app to others.
Make sure that your emails can be viewed easily from most mobile devices. This increases the success you have with your mobile marketing campaign. Instead of using links to access content, allow users to select phone numbers. If you do use links, you must be sure that the target page can be viewed easily on mobile devices. Checking email from a phone is becoming increasingly common, so any emails you send out need to take this into account.
TIP! Before formally launching your mobile marketing campaign, conduct thorough usability tests among your target market. The purpose of a particular campaign will be ineffective if you use messages that don’t work.
You can effectively market your business with mobile marketing, so long as you don’t overuse it. With what you learned today you should formulate your new and unique strategy when it comes to mobile marketing. Resulting in your efforts will be a larger clientele.
We here at SMS Masterminds are proud to announce our placement on the 2013 Inc. 5000 list our very first year eligible: #731! It’s been a fantastic journey, and I want to thank all of our clients, staff and support teams for helping us to get where we are today. KSBY, a local news outlet, featured us on their 5 and 6 o’clock news broadcasts on August 22, 2013. Be sure to watch the video and read the article! Again, thank you to everyone who has helped us get where we are today, and we look forward to many more exciting developments with the Masterminds soon.
—CEO Alex Minicucci
Several Central Coast businesses recognized by national magazine
Posted: Aug 22, 2013 8:23 PM by Cameron Polom & Katherine Worsham, KSBY News Updated: Aug 23, 2013 7:55 AM
Eighteen Central Coast companies are getting some national attention. Inc. Magazine has named them as some of the fastest growing businesses in the country.
SMS Masterminds in San Luis Obispo is number 731 on the Inc. 5000 list.
“(I) have always been in the tech business, always been a web guy, owned one of the first web design companies in San Luis County back in the mid 90s,” said Alex Minicucci, SMS Masterminds founder.
The company focuses on mobile marketing. One of its products is called a Loyalty Rewards Kiosk, which essentially replaces the typical loyalty cards you get from stores with a text-based rewards program. More than 1 million customers have used the technology, and it’s been licensed to more than 60 businesses in 30 states. The company has also grown by 10% every month over the last year.
San Luis Obispo County officials say growing businesses, like SMS Masterminds, are good for the county.
“Nothing provides the revenue better than having people who are working in well-paid jobs, who have families, who have houses, who shop here and do everything here, and the multiplier effect is enormous,” said County Supervisor Adam Hill.
Minicucci says the secret is hard work and dedication; however, even one of the Central Coast’s fastest growing businesses has to slow down every once in a while.
“It’s a fun office,” he said. “Sitting at a computer all day long is, I think, physically the worst thing a human being can do all day, so we encourage everybody to get up, move around a little bit, and bond as a team.”
Other San Luis Obispo companies to make the list are MindBody (#1360), iFixit (#1735), TekTegrity (#2131), Meathead Movers (#2605), and Shopatron (#3402).
IQMS, based in Paso Robles, made the list for the third year in a row. The company’s ranking on the list (#3230) is 600 spots higher than last year.
Eleven businesses in Santa Barbara are also on the list: Planet Solar (#434), ONTRAPORT (#603), Fast Spring (#642), Pensionmark Retirement Group (#826), Procore Technologies (#1335), Metro Solutions (#2004), Invenios (#2088), Data Hardware Depot (#2518), Tempest Telecom Solutions (#3076), Beneflex Insurance Services (#3317), and Star Media Network (#4761).
The 2013 Inc. 5000 List measures revenue growth from 2009 through 2012. To qualify, companies must have been founded and generating revenue by March 31, 2009.
The magazine will recognize this year’s honorees at an event in October held in Washington, D.C.
No, not the guy who swings an ax to cut off people’s heads! Jeez. I mean, someone who excels at executing projects.
If you’re one of the .000001% of people on this planet that are naturally good at staying focused on your priorities and completing tasks, please ignore this article and go back to whatever it was you were doing. You rule.
For the rest of us, FOCUS is a monumental challenge. I don’t mean being able to sit in a chair for 30 minutes and read a book; I mean the kind of internal fortitude it takes to prioritize, make a decision, then see it through until it’s done.
We use the term, “DONE DONE”, which means — you guessed it — REALLY DONE.
How many projects have you started that get about half done? Or 90% of the way done?
Why do we do this? Because it’s human nature. It doesn’t require a deep psychological analysis, just a quick qualitative assessment of the world around you will reveal it’s a common problem that doesn’t need to come from not being breastfed or striking out in the little league game. It’s just a fact of life.
Accept it, and improve your habits. There is hope!
Yes, there are ways to manage this natural deficiency we all possess. Here are some ideas to help you cope that I’ve learned over the years:
Learn to say NO. You don’t have to take on every project that sounds good.
Know what you’ve already said YES to. Use task software, write them down on a notepad, use a gantt chart, whatever. Just know what’s already in progress (this will empower you to say NO to more).
PRIORITIZE. Know what needs to be done first, and what can wait until later if needed.
Have a TIMELINE. When can you get your current list done? Set goals and hold yourself accountable.
LOOK at the timeline! Don’t write it down and forget — make it part of your morning routine to review your current projects and timelines.
DO IT! Get the work done. Like going to the gym, you just have to get it done. It’s good for you.
Learn to say NO (yeah, it’s that important).
It may seem like I’ve oversimplified a very complex, expensive and time consuming challenge, but if you can implement the basic steps above you can become an excellent Executioner: which is key to virtually every aspect of your life, especially business.
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