Take Your Marketing to New Heights

On Sunday, October 14, 2012, the world watched in amazement as Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner became the first person to break the sound barrier without an aircraft. In a pressurized capsule attached to a 550-foot helium balloon, Baumgartner soared to a height of 128,097 feet (or 24 miles) above the New Mexico desert.

Upon reaching the brink of space, he leapt from the capsule, free falling for an astounding 4 minutes and 20 seconds and reaching speeds of 833.9 miles per hour. Known as Fearless Felix, Baumgartner took the sport of skydiving to undeniable heights, forever cementing his place in the record books.

Though Baumgartner’s harrowing leap left acrophobes around the globe in utter disbelief, it also showed the world that the right combination of ingenuity, intellect and ambition enables us to reach heights previously thought impossible. Using innovative thinking can take your marketing to the next level and leave a lasting impression on the minds of your customers.

Sometimes businesses get into a marketing rut, using the same methods over and over again. You never know what’s truly possible for your business unless you make an all-out effort. Instead of reaching into the same old bag of marketing tricks, take your marketing to the next level by using fresh and innovative ideas to reach your customers.

Be Social

Take advantage of social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter to allow your marketing team to reach a large number of people online. Set up an appealing corporate profile page and interact with as many potential customers as possible.

Shoot a Video

Make a promotional video about your products or services available on sites such as YouTube. Highlight the unique features of your products and services with eye-catching graphics and appealing music.

Create a Blog

Creating a blog will give you the opportunity to make your business accessible to the masses. Customers can interact with your company through your blog. Be sure to update your blog on a regular basis and always respond to any comments.

Go Mobile

In this day and age, most people use a smartphone. Use this to your advantage and create a mobile app with enough functions to place your product directly into people’s palms.

To make your marketing succeed, you must encourage yourself to be innovative, to think differently and to take action in new and unique ways. The effort you put forth will be worth it. Before you know it, your marketing will soar to heights that would make even Felix Baumgartner proud.

For more information about innovative marketing ideas, click here.

TFNs and Why You Need Them

When it comes to advertising, any successful business knows that quantity does not top quality. When you take a shot in the dark with an ad campaign, you are more likely to shoot yourself in the foot rather than hit your target. In order to make the most effective use of your budget, you need to know when an ad has hit the bull’s-eye.

The key to successful marketing lies in placing the right set of tools at your disposal. If you seek a cost-effective way to not only measure but also improve your marketing efforts, toll-free numbers (TFNs) are a great tool to have at your disposal.

Here are five reasons to use TFNs:
  1. Availability. The placement potential of TFNs span across all marketing channels. Adding a TFN to a website, promo item or anything in between gives potential leads a convenient and cost-free way to contact your business.
  2. Convenience. Remembering a full 10-digit phone number is a rare ability in today’s world, but by using a creative vanity TFN, even the most forgetful consumer can quickly recall your contact information. If a potential lead is going to call your business, the first step they must take is remembering what number to dial. By fostering higher call volume, TFNs promise to increase sales volume as well.
  3. Credibility. Having a toll-free number implies that your business receives a high volume of callers and has taken the steps necessary to accommodate your callers. By using a TFN, you will make an impression of professionalism on anyone who comes across it.
  4. Consistency. Whether you’re changing the location of your offices or the provider of your phone service, your TFN will remain the same so you won’t lose a single caller or need to alter any of your ad campaign material.
  5. Marketing. A great way to shed some light on your campaigns’ effectiveness is by using TFNs. By assigning a TFN to each campaign, you can measure and record consumer responses to your specific marketing efforts and determine if each campaign is pulling its own weight by generating a profitable ROI.
Take our advice — if you aren’t already using TFNs to target your marketing campaigns, start. TFNs will help you shed the blindfold and see the light.

8 Tips for Maintaining Customer Loyalty

A successful business typically sees 80 percent of its business from 20 percent of its customers. Maintaining customer loyalty is crucial to any business, as it takes more time and money to find a new client than it does to keep an old one. Below are eight tips to help your business gain and maintain customer loyalty.

Keep the Lines of Communication Open

Create and maintain a database of contact information for the customers you already have and reach out to these customers on a regular basis. Email newsletters or monthly fliers are a great way to keep in touch with your customers. Your messages don’t always have to be advertisements; provide your customers with information that’s useful to them.

Go the Extra Mile

Customers remember when they are treated well, and a positive customer experience results in repeat business. Give customers an easy, accessible way to express their concerns, complaints or compliments with you, whether in person, by phone or by email. Above all, maintain a positive attitude when answering those customer communications.

Treat Others How You Would Like to Be Treated

Loyalty begins at the top and works its way through the company. If you are honest and respectful to your employees, they’ll pass that courtesy on to your customers.

Put Your Best Foot Forward

Your employees represent your company to customers. Proper customer service training will give them the tools they need to make a good first impression.

Make Your Business Worth Your Customers’ Time

Incentives such as discounts, specials and free shipping give customers a reason to return to your business. You can use incentive programs to boost business during slow periods and to promote new products.

Be Informed

It goes without saying that knowing your own product is essential to growing your business. Make sure your employees are knowledgeable about your products so they can confidently inform and assist customers.

Keep Your Word

A company’s reliability is nearly — if not equally — as important as the reliability of its products. If you tell a customer that a shipment will arrive on Tuesday, make sure it does. When customers are able to depend on you, they are more likely to recommend your services to others.

Play the Name Game

Make sure your employees learn the names of regular customers. Remembering someone’s name makes people feel respected and encourages them to repeat their business with your company. Employees should make a habit of sharing their names with customers right away to establish a deeper connection and show customers that they are willing to be held accountable.

Customers are the livelihood of all businesses. Make it a priority to keep them happy and impressed with your business, and they’ll reward you by becoming a loyal customer.

For more tips on building customer loyalty, visit allbusiness.com.

Bringing Home the Bacon: What to Do When Your Marketing Resources Are Running Low

If you’ve been paying attention to the news or any of the various social media outlets, you’ve probably heard about the “unavoidable” bacon shortage reported for next year. According to Britain’s National Pig Association, the rising prices of pig feed have led to declining herds, leading bacon lovers to stock up on pork.

Although some say that the reports of the shortage have been grossly exaggerated, the bacon scare does pose an important question: What should you do if your resources are running low?

One of the biggest mistakes that businesses make when their resources are running low is to eliminate marketing tools. Instead of trying to save nickels, use the marketing resources you do have to make dollars. Strategic marketing will help you focus your efforts on profit-producing tactics and help you maximize all available resources.

The best thing you can do to get the most bang for your buck from your limited resources is to eliminate waste. Marketing doesn’t stop at creating a great campaign. If you don’t measure your marketing efforts, you can’t know what works and what doesn’t.

To determine the effectiveness of a campaign, you must have consistent tracking mechanisms in place. For instance, tracking information about the calls that come into your business provides you with the evidence you need to determine which marketing campaigns are generating the most leads. With this information, you can adjust your marketing budget and make your marketing dollars count.

Just as pork connoisseurs are bolstering their pork stash before the supply runs low, marketers who are working with limited resources should get smart and stock up on marketing ideas that work for their company — within their budget.

Treat Your Customers to Frightening Ads

Here’s our marketing tip of the month: Scare your customers. That may seem counterintuitive. After all, isn’t the purpose of marketing to discover how not to scare your customers away? But at this time of year, people don’t mind a little fright, as long as the message is clearly communicated and cleverly executed.

Just take a look at these advertising campaigns for proof.

Boo at the Zoo

Who doesn’t remember telling ghost stories as a kid? The San Francisco Zoo’s advertising campaign for its “Boo at the Zoo” Halloween party played on the nostalgia of childhood and captured its audience with the “aw” factor.

Floss or Die

For many, going to the dentist is scary year-round. But one dentist bravely launched an ad campaign hoping to scare customers into his office. The ad featured a hooded figure holding a floss-pick reaper, looking, well, grim.

Fire Service Scare Tactics

Amidst all of the fun Halloween ads, there are also a few that shock and stick with consumers because of their serious nature. Consider the hard-hitting New Zealand Fire Service ad, which made consumers aware of the consequences of not having a working smoke alarm.

Halloween ads, whether sentimentally spooky, cleverly contrived or seriously scary, present an opportunity for marketers to step outside of the norm and capture the attention of consumers. A good way to see if your scary ad campaign is tricking or treating your bottom line is to implement a call tracking service.