Email Marketing Helps Grow Sales

If you own a local business and have not yet implemented an email marketing plan, you should consider implementing an email marketing strategy to grow your sales.  Here’s why.

According to various market research firms:

  • 66% of consumers surveyed made a purchase because of a marketing email. (Exact Target 2008 Channel Preference Survey)
  • 94% of daily email users subscribed to marketing messages. (ExactTarget “Subscribers, Fans, and Followers: The Social Profile” (2010))
  • 67% say the motivation behind giving their email address to a company is to get a promotions and discounts while 55% will do it for a “freebie”.  (ExactTarget “Email X-Factor Study” (2010)
  • 14% give their email address just to interact with a brand. (ExactTarget “Email X-Factor Study” (2010)
  • 75% of daily social media users said email is the best way for companies to communicate with them. MarketingSherpa (2010)

Best Commercial Email Service Providers

Many local businesses use Constant Contact to build their email database and send email messages to their customers and prospects.

Constant Contact will cost you around $15.00 per month to get started.

But there are other alternatives – and some are free.

If you are thinking about implementing email marketing in your business, you should also check out these alternative email services:

  • Mail Chimp
  • Icontact
  • Aweber

Need Help Getting Started?

If you need help creating an email marketing system for your business, click here and send us an email using the contact form at the bottom of the page.

Let us know how we can help you and we will call you for a no-obligation chat.

Word of Mouth Advertising Online: Do You Know Your Online Reputation?

Most small business owners will tell you that word of mouth advertising is their best source of new business.

But many don’t know that their customers have left online reviews about their business – and what customers are saying about them online is either helping or hurting their sales.

A recent study by market research firm Razorfish found that:

61% of people rely on user reviews for product information or research before a buying decision is made.

This is just one way the internet is revolutionizing consumer behavior.  And that’s why you need to be aware of your online reputation – and manage it proactively.

As an internet marketing strategist working with local small businesses, it amazes me how few business owners I meet realize that people have left online reviews about their business  – and that this online buzz is either helping or hurting their sales.

Have You Checked Your Online Reputation Lately?

If you haven’t done so recently, go to the following local business directories, type in your business name and location, and see if your customers have submitted any reviews about you or your business:

  • Google.com (Look in Google Places)
  • Yelp.com
  • Merchantcircle.com
  • Superpages.com
  • Yellowpages.com

Your Online Reviews Matter

Like it or not, there’s a good chance that people are reading about you and your business online and making purchase decisions based on what others are saying.

Equally important:  the number of online reviews for your business can help your search engine results.  The business with more reviews (good OR bad) will likely rank higher in search engine results than competing businesses with no or fewer reviews.

How to Manage Your Online Reputation

Now that you know how important online reviews can be for your business, you should consider setting up a process that encourages your happy customers to review you online.  At the same time, you should set up a process to identify unhappy customers as soon as possible, so you can address their dissatisfaction and resolve it as soon as possible.

Managing your online reputation can be as simple as letting your customers know that online reviews are important to your business, and showing them where they can go to review you.  You can  ask them to review you through your Google Places page, your Merchant Circle listing, or your listing on Yelp.com.

Happy customers will usually be happy to help your business do better – and it only takes a few minutes of their time to write a few sentences telling others what they like about their experience with you.

What To Do If You Get a Bad Review

No one likes to get a bad review – especially when the whole world can see it!  But it’s a fact of life that bad reviews will happen for most businesses.  No one can please everybody all the time.

The best way to handle a bad review is to respond to the complaint as quickly as possible.  While it’s human nature to take bad reviews personally – they can really hurt! – it’s best to cool down before you respond.

If you can identify the customer who left the complaint, call them up and let them know you read their review, that their satisfaction is important to you, and ask what you can do to resolve their complaint.  Many customers will be pleasantly surprised that you cared enough to respond in person.

Assuming you are able to resolve their issue to their satisfaction, you can ask the complainer to please leave a new review letting readers know that their original complaint has been resolved satisfactorily.

If you can’t identify the reviewer, the next best option is to respond to the review in writing on the review site, and let the writer know that you have read the review, that you are sorry they were less than satisfied with your product or service, that you take their complaint seriously and that you are taking steps to ensure that the cause of their dissatisfaction doesn’t arise again.





Local Search for Local Business: Are You Losing Business Without Knowing It?

According to a recent study by TMP Direct Marketing and comScore, 45% of local business customers look for local businesses online without a specific business in mind.

In other words – they want to find a local business that can solve their problem or fulfill a need – and start by looking online, using search phrases like:

  • chiropractor in Warrenton
  • hair salon Culpeper
  • plumber in Gainesville  VA

55% of customers searching for local businesses online begin with a specific business in mind.

33% of potential customers for local businesses give up because they cannot find the business they are looking for online.

What’s the Lesson for Your Business?

Doing business without an internet presence is like doing business without a phone or a mailing address.

If you aren’t making it easy for your customers to find you where they are looking for you – you are losing business, and you probably don’t even know it!

Conversely: the business that gets found fast online, gets more business.  Period.

And the business that shows up multiple times on page one of Google search results has a powerful competitive advantage in the local marketplace.

How Do Customers Find Local Businesses Online?

  • 40.7% will find you through Google
  • 18.2% will find you through Yahoo! and Yahoo Local
  • 19.9% will find you through YellowPages.com, SuperPages.com, and YellowBook.com
  • 5.6% will find you through Mobile Phones and Social Media
  • 15.6% will find you through other sources

How to Create an Internet Presence for Your Business

If you need help creating an internet presence for your business, click here and send us an email using the contact form at the bottom of the page.

Let us know how we can help you and we will call you to set up a no-obligation appointment.

FaceBook Deals: Killer Marketing App for Local Businesses

Do you know about FaceBook Deals and how it can help increase sales and word-of-mouth advertising for your local business?  If you don’t, here’s the scoop.

FaceBook Deals is a recently-released enhancement to FaceBook Places pages.  It is a free online marketing tool that allows business owners to create and promote special deals for customers who check into their business  using their mobile phones.

Businesses have been able to set up their own Facebook Places page for a while now.  However, Facebook Places didn’t give people much incentive to bother checking in to your local business.

FaceBook Deals fixes that.

Once you add your FaceBook Deals to your FaceBook Places page, your customers can earn valuable discounts or freebies just by checking into your business.  You decide on an offer that you think will attract your customers and be profitable for you at the same time.  You decide the terms and restrictions for your offer, and you can change your offer at any time.

When your customers check-in to your business through your FaceBook Places page, not only do they get a money-saving benefit themselves — you benefit as well because they are providing word-of-mouth advertising for you to all their FaceBook friends and followers.

Since the average FaceBook user has 156 followers, you can see how claiming your FaceBook Places Page and offering a FaceBook deal can benefit your business.

The more FaceBook Deals you offer, the more you motivate people to check in to your business.  The more people that check into your business, the more viral word-of-mouth advertising you get.

And that is a Great Deal for local business owners!

If you are FaceBook savvy, you can set this up yourself for free.  If you need help setting up your FaceBook Places page, contact us for assistance.

Just call 540-729-4076. Or send us an email through the contact us form on this website.