The Importance of Understanding What You Sell

I went to IHOP the other week with a few friends for their free pancakes in celebration of National Pancake Day to see what all the hype was about. Similar to Denny.s free grand slam breakfast, IHOP.s promotion should be deemed successful, if not even more successful than Denny.s promotion. Free offers like this cause people who don.t normally go to those stores or purchase those products to do so. The difference between IHOP and Denny.s is that Denny.s gave away a lot more food and it cost them more. IHOP offered only 3 small pancakes. If people went to get the pancakes for a meal, then I.m sure 3 small pancakes would fill few people up. This, in turn, causes people to order additional food to fill themselves up and of course, drinks to quench their thirst. The cost of making a pancake is extremely cheap compared to the other food. So while they may lose some money from those pancakes, they are now making a lot more money from the influx of people coming to eat and buy other things (the people who otherwise would not have been out getting a meal). more

Marketing in a Bad Economy

People are spending less and less these days, but that doesn.t mean they aren.t spending. Small businesses and big businesses both need to be aware of this and figure out 1) how do we make people spend money and 2) how do we make people spend their money on our products and our services?

Think about what makes your business unique and better than the competition. Why should people buy from you? What are people looking for? How can you present your products and services in a way that is desirable to people?

While people are still buying, they are shopping around a lot more to see which business offers the lowest price and best products or services. They also want their shopping experience to be smooth and quick. Efficiency is important. more

Analytics: Customer Shopping Times

Customer behavior is very important analytical data that can be used to help boost business. Whether your business is on the web or you have a store, it is very important to pay attention to your customers. I have a feeling that many people have web analytics installed on their website but never really dig in deep to study information. While it can be time consuming, you may just find something to help your business. Today.s specific topic in analytics is reviewing the times (hours) which your customers visit your site or store and also what time they usually purchase items.

Knowing when your customers visit your store or site and when they purchase allows you to do a few things. If you know when your customers primarily visit your store or site, you can offer specials or sales during certain hours. Also, if you have certain hours or days where sales are slow, you can offer something special during those hours or days to boost sales. For example, if you notice, many restaurants have specials early in the week, like Taco Tuesdays. This is because people tend to eat out later in the week around Thursday through Saturday. Another example is stores or websites offering a great deal until noon. more

Email Marketing for Local Businesses

Email marketing is such a simple and easy way for all businesses to promote their products or services. After seeing Mary Bowling.s article on .Why Local Businesses Need Email Marketing,. I would like to summarize her points for our audience here.

High ROI
You would send your email promotions out to people who are interested or more inclined to purchase your products or services. This is a targeted group, not everyone so the return is going to be much higher.

Emailing your customers cost virtually nothing! All you need is an email account and there are many free email providers out there if you don.t have one with your company already. If you would like to get fancy and use pre-made templates or customize your emails, you can opt for a simple email provider. more

Creative Marketing Works

With the situation of the economy, companies need to work harder and harder to come up with marketing ideas and promotions that work. People are less reluctant to buy nowadays, so how can we as marketers entice consumer to pull out their wallets once again? The answer here is being creative. Here are just a few examples of how companies are rethinking their marketing strategies and creating marketing promotions that are worthwhile for the customer and for the company.

This past Tuesday, Denny.s had a HUGE marketing promotion inviting everyone in America to come eat a FREE grand slam breakfast meal at their restaurants. Denny.s whole marketing message was that during these hard times, you could still get a filling breakfast at an affordable price. The more I think about it, the more I realize that Denny.s marketing plan was brilliant. Denny.s doesn.t have many advertisements (at least I haven.t seen that many), and for them to show up with an ad at the Super Bowl with this type of promotion is a big deal. Offering something FREE, now that.s smart because people love FREE. People will get in line for an hour or two in the freezing cold to get FREE breakfast when they could have probably cooked their own breakfast in the comfort of their warm home. The Super Bowl ad may have cost Denny.s around $3 million and giving out FREE meals to about 2 million people surely has some up front cost. But with people ordering drinks with their meals and the cost of breakfast food be fairly low, they should probably break even because the margin on drinks is usually very high. The amount of publicity received from this promotion is worth way more than the cost of the ad and breakfasts. Way to go Denny.s. more

Marketing Promotions for Special Events or Occasions

Each calendar year has tons of holidays, special events, or occasions that your business can and should use to promote your business. Aside from the well-known holidays like the fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Labor Day, or Christmas, there are plenty of smaller holidays that might not be known to your customers. Using these smaller holidays or events can make others aware of the occasion and also gives you an excuse as a business to have a sale or some type of special promotion or event to celebrate the date. Not only can you have a special promotion for the event, you can also use it as a chance to engage your customers with games or gifts all while promoting your company. more

Benefits of Internal Search Marketing

I really like using internal search on websites when I.m looking for information and even when I.m shopping. If you know what you are looking for, using a website.s search box is the way to go. You don.t have to waste your time clicking all over the site to discover that you can.t find what you went there to look for. How to execute a good internal search is a completely different subject from the benefits of it. Today I will just touch on the benefits.

Reviewing internal search on e-commerce websites provides great insight into what your customers are really looking for. It also helps you better understand the terminology that your customers may use, which can be different from what you think they use. Based off of this data, you can promote the most searched for products more prominently on your website. Maybe customers are looking for something they think you sell, but you currently don.t. This would be a good opportunity to introduce those products on your site. You can also use this data to change the language on your website. For example, if you are a supplier of coca-cola or pepsi products, you might label these products as .soda. or .pop.. However, if the majority of people on your site end up searching for the opposite of what you call it, then it is probably a good idea to change your language. more

Building a Good Landing Page

Setting up a landing page properly is absolutely crucial to maximizing conversions. When I shop for something online, I like to do a lot of research, I like to shop around for the best deal, and I want to purchase from a company that looks like they know what they are doing.

I was prompted to write about landing pages after I saw this article on PPC Landing Pages: Surprising Examples at Search Engine Watch. It is absolutely amazing to see that some large, credible retailers still do not understand the important elements that belong on a landing page. While the article focuses mainly on pay-per-click ads and their landing pages, I think that these simple tips are relevant to landing pages for email promos, SEO, or any other type of landing pages. Think of it as a best practice guide. more

Promoting Your Business Offline

Visibility in the online space is important, but it is just as important to promote yourself offline. Chris Crum from Small Business Newz wrote a great article on places you could advertise your business offline.

Throw in a few stickers in the package or bag your customers receive. People love free things. Plus stickers are an effective way to promote your business to those who normally don.t surf the web. You may be able to reach a new group of people with your logo and website imprinted on a sticker.

Handing out flyers does not seem to be as effective as posting them somewhere. Post up your flyer in places where people often have to wait or spend a short amount of time such as bus stops, subways, telephone poles, etc. more