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Tag : marketing for business

By Rhett Doolittle

Why Businesses Need to Use Social Media

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Why Businesses Need to Use Social Media

In today’s market, most businesses own and operate social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and/or Instagram. However, they don’t have a deep understanding of why they NEED these accounts – the true value of social media. They are simply clocking in and clocking out of their social media accounts because it seems to be what everyone else is doing. The true value of social media when it’s used the right way is its ability to increase revenue and/or improve a company’s bottom line.

Since the beginning of time, the art of selling has encompassed 4 basic principles:

  • Collect Leads (Attract new people)
  • Connect with Leads & Create Interest
  • Illustrate Trustworthiness & Value
  • Convert into Sales (Then Buy Again or One-Time Sales)

To sell a product or service you must first attract an audience of potential customers or sales Leads. Next you must Connect with your Leads and Create Interest about your products or services. Then you must illustrate trustworthiness and value so that your Leads are compelled to buy. After buying something, they’ll either like it and Buy Again in the future, or it will be a One-Time Sale.

In the past, phone communications, direct snail mail, and email were the go-to methods to facilitate the above sales strategies but times have changed. Customers are no longer talking on their phones; they’re posting and commenting on social media. Many don’t even have landlines in their homes anymore. Snail mail has been all but replaced by email but current trends show that email is fast becoming replaced by DMs or direct messages on social media. The amount of time people spend online is increasing. When they are on their phones, they’re on social media mostly watching viral videos. Studies show that customers will believe a random video on Facebook from somebody they don’t even know over their own mother’s testimonial. They trust the quality of the video more than they trust “mom’s opinion.” Our culture has changed but the basic principles of selling have not. Attract potential customers or new LEADS > Connect & Create INTEREST > Illustrate TRUST & VALUE > Convert into SALES and inspire customers to BUY AGAIN.

Businesses must use social media if they want to be successful in these basic principles because that’s where their audience is congregating, communicating and connecting. It makes perfect sense that you must go where the people are. The larger your audience, the more leads you’ll accrue, the more opportunities you’ll have to connect, the more sales conversations you’ll accumulate.

As the backbone of your sales strategy, social media can be an extremely powerful communication tool. It can be used to promote new and existing products and services; communicate with and train employees; strengthen your brand messaging; promote what’s most important to you and your business; provide customer support documentation; link to 3rd party resources in a different voice that an employee or potential customer might connect with better. In the age of online reviews through sites like Yelp, now customers also have the ability to speak up publicly on social media. Business owners can also respond publicly and use this customer feedback to improve their business. If they have a good reputation and use social media to listen to their customers, they’ll get the feedback they need to improve their products and services, and their bottom line. Using social media, businesses can communicate with customers in a multitude of ways, show them that they care and appreciate their business, thereby reminding them to visit the business again and again.

Once a business owner understands the inherent value of social media they’ll be as passionate and aggressive about their social media strategy as they are about the rest of their company. At Bluume, creating a strong social media strategy is just one of the ways we can help a business improve their bottom line. With a professionally designed social media strategy you can increase revenue and profits to a point where you have financial freedom to spend more time doing what you love.

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By Rhett Doolittle

How to Grow My Business Faster

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3 Questions to Ask to Grow My Business

Marketing is essential to any business. The ones who have survived without having a budget for it are at risk. Most of the time marketing is the be-all and end-all of success and growth. However, if a business is losing existing customers and is unable to get people coming back more often then they may have bigger problems than just marketing.

Before any small business launches a marketing plan, they should ask 3 key questions:

  1. Do you have more or less returning customers than you did last month?
  2. Are you attracting more or less new customers than you did last month?
  3. Is your Average Sale Amount increasing or is it less than it was last month?

The answers to these questions represent your core business numbers of how you’re doing today before you start attracting new customers. Why are these numbers so important? Because in order to identify if your business is improving you must have an understanding of where you are right now. Let’s explore each core business number more closely in an effort to pinpoint its origin and how it can be improved.

  1. # of Returning Customers: If you have less Returning customers than you did last month this usually points to an issue with your products or services. There could be a consistency or staleness issue. Perhaps the quality of your product or service has declined, your customers have lost faith in your brand, and have opted not to use it anymore. What can you do? Read your social media and online reviews. What are your customers saying about your business? Talk to your employees, show you care, and listen. Have they received any direct customer feedback? Talk to your customers and ask them what they like and don’t like about your products/services. Asking for their feedback will give you some great insight and it will provide a great connection to your customers by showing that you care. If through your research you find that your products and services are solid, then it may be that you need to create a better connection with your customers, remind them of your brand again, and show them that you appreciate their business. The great thing about engagement through customer reviews and social media is that these are already great customer relationship building measures. You’ve researched the problem and made headway on a solution in the same step. In addition, you might look into advanced training for your staff; developing a new product/service to add to your current offerings; and continue to engage further on social media with your customers in a fun, creative, interactive setting.
  2. # of New Customers: If you are attracting less New customers than you did last month then it’s time to step up your marketing strategy. Are you doing less marketing than you have in previous months? Were your most recent marketing plans less effective? Are you relying on word-of-mouth or old ways to market to new customers? Oftentimes a new company experiences a constant influx of New customers in the very beginning, which slowly tapers off. Especially if you’re the new kid in town with a new approach or offering, your company may have generated lots of local excitement and press at its inception. It’s time to change your ways, freshen up your marketing, and attract more New customers.
  3. Average Sale: If your Average Sale is less than it was last month and you didn’t lower your prices, then you need a plan to increase sales. Check your competition and see if you can raise your prices without losing customers. Create some package deals to make it easier for customers to buy add-on products. Train your staff on presenting the new price plan and/or upselling to existing customers. Every little bit counts and can really add up when you multiple it by hundreds or thousands of transactions.

Can you see how knowing your numbers can dictate the best approach to grow your company faster? In summary, lack of returning customers is probably a product or service issue, lack of new customers means you need marketing help, and low average transaction value is a product, pricing or training issue.

Growing your business faster is about identifying shortcomings in every facet of your business and creating results that will boost growth in that specific area. When you add up each individual improvement it has an exponential affect to revenue and customer growth. This is one of the keys to having a plan built for lasting success and a thriving business.

You can do all this yourself, but do you have the time, training & resources? At Bluume, we take every one of our clients through a process to develop a custom plan for them to improve every facet of their business.

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By Rhett Doolittle

Branding is Your Promise

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Branding is Your Promise

A top area of confusion among small business owners is the true definition of the all-encompassing word – BRAND. Many believe it’s just the name of their company, or just their logo. Your brand is so much more. Your brand tells the world who you are and what you believe. It tells your potential customers what they can expect from your products and services and the benefits of all of the above. It tells your loyal customers what they can depend on as they return to do business with you again and again. A strong brand helps you stand out in a sea of competition. It’s born from what your business is now and what you aim for it to be in the future. Branding is your promise.

Your brand is your pledge to your customers, so this is an area where you don’t want to fall short and where you must always be clear and consistent. Do you truly know who you are as a company? To begin crafting your brand, start by asking two easy questions:

  • Are you new and innovative in your field or the experienced business that has been around for decades?
  • Is your product considered a good value for the price or are you a first-class option?

As you probably know, you can’t be all things to all people and niche marketing is the easiest, best and most efficient way to build a strong brand. What you build your business to be should be based somewhat on what your target customers want and need you to be. Selling the most sensational bags of sand in the middle of the Sahara isn’t the most lucrative way to make money. It is essential to align what you offer with marketplace trends and hone your brand accordingly.

Once you’ve branded your company it’s important to assess how consumers perceive your company or product, and how readily they notice your business on a day-to-day basis. Are you communicating your brand effectively and does customer feedback reflect that your brand reputation is rock solid? Competition from other businesses grows daily. You must evaluate your brand on a regular basis and look for ways to improve it so that it remains relevant. An efficient brand strategy gives small businesses that needed edge in a space where dozens of like companies exist.

Your customers have expectations and it is essential for you to identify and meet those brand expectations if you hope to run a successful business. At Bluume, one of the first things we do when we begin working with a new client is to assess the strength of their brand. Once we’ve made sure your brand is powerful and sustainable we assist businesses in building their brand awareness, telling the who, what, when, where and why of their company CONSISTANTLY to all those customers out there who are ready and waiting to listen. It makes all the difference in the world for your bottom line, and the deserved success of your company.

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By Rhett Doolittle

MOBILE PAYMENTS LIKE APPLE PAY AND GOOGLE WALLET WILL TAKE OFF!

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Mobile Payments like Apple Pay and Google Wallet will Take Off!

There was a day and age when consumers were nervous about making a purchase over the Internet…then their mobile phones…and today, mobile wallets. We use our smartphones for everything and it may be hard for some to imagine, but our wallets are next. As a consumer, I’d love to be able to ditch my wallet and only carry my smartphone, and I’m not alone. Male consumers today love the idea of not having to carry a wallet that’s bursting at the seams like the iconic, histrionic George Costanza’s wallet in Seinfeld, and women love the idea of having one less thing in their purses.

Fortunately, Apple Pay and Google Wallet are here. Many large corporations are already adopting Apple Pay or developing a plan for it because they know it’s the future. It hasn’t completely taken over yet, but the 800-pound gorilla (Apple) is here to stay and will continue to dump money into its product until it is widespread. Small businesses that adopt this new technology sooner rather than later will reap the same benefits as large corporations. It’s not a question of whether or not mobile wallets will take off, but when.

Mobile wallets do more than just accept payments and provide consumer convenience, they help the business owner too. Today’s consumer, more than ever before is cost comparing online; they want and expect deals and special treatment. They want loyalty points for spending, “buy 9 get one free” rewards, and other ways to save money. Businesses know this and they tend to invest a lot of money in membership, punch and loyalty cards to show their customers that they are valued. What they don’t realize is that their customers are carrying around their card plus 50 other cards from other business, all of which they inevitably forget to use. Consumers have lost the feeling of being valued and it’s not because business owners don’t appreciate their business. The amount of credit cards, debit cards, membership cards, punch cards, loyalty cards, gift cards and prepaid cards is out of control. It’s unlikely that consumers will continue to carry around all these cards but what they will carry is their smartphone. Fortunately, mobile wallets like Apple Pay and Google Wallet can take care of the rest.

Mobile wallets have the ability to track loyalty points and rewards, and deliver a lot of valuable metrics to the business owner. Mobile wallets can tell a business owner who their customers are, whether or not they are loyal, and alert them if they are losing customers. Instead of shooting blind implementing marketing strategies they think might work, business owners can use mobile wallet metrics to more accurately measure their Return on Investment (ROI). Everything they need to know about their customers is sitting on their smartphones, and developing a plan to initiate a mobile wallet system for your business is the first step to accessing this information.

Mobile Wallets like Apple Pay and Google Wallet are poised to take off, and business owners that choose not to take advantage of this technology now will find themselves left behind. The features and benefits available in mobile wallets are efficient and user-friendly, and consumers are begging for them. At Bluume, we walk our clients through the various mobile wallet options available today, providing clarity and understanding of this technology. Once you add a mobile wallet system, you’ll wonder why you hesitated to streamline your business operations in this smart and simple way.

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By Rhett Doolittle

Small Business Marketing Using Social Media

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Small Business Marketing Using Social Media

Up until the turn of the 21st century, most businesses were local brick-and-mortar storefronts relying on a completely different kind of marketing than they do today. As technology has evolved, new opportunities for marketing and engagement have evolved. Traditional marketing techniques like telemarketing, local TV ads, email blasts, and direct mail have become less and less effective as we become a society immune to marketing messages. Consumers now view traditional marketing as intrusive, and have consequently become quite savvy at ignoring it through DVR, caller ID, voicemail, email filters, and quite honestly, garbage cans. Today’s consumers accept marketing messages from businesses that are savvy in the art of social media.

Consider these social media statistics (Reference)

  • 1.4 billion Facebook users & 4.5 billion daily Likes
  • 284 million Twitter users & 500 million daily tweets
  • 363 million Google+ users & +1 button is hit 5 billion times a day
  • 300 million Instagram users & 70 million photos and videos sent daily
  • 70 million Pinterest users & 88% purchase a product they pinned

If you are like many business owners, you view social media as a way to connect with friends and family. That’s the way your customers view social media too. This is how and why social media creates such an intimate environment in which to communicate with people who are utilizing your products and services. You are meeting your customers somewhere they have logged into by choice, where they are ready and eager to engage socially. To become a pro in the art of social media, you must position yourself in this environment and cultivate authentic engagement with your customers who are socializing there. Share, post, like, comment, ask questions, personalize your responses just as you would with your family and friends. Like a seasoned dinner party host, you’ll find yourself connecting with your customers and feeling right at home doing it.

At Bluume, many of our clients come to us asking how to implement a business-focused social media strategy that is warm, friendly and real. We’ve created an inbound approach to marketing that helps businesses connect, interact and grow through these targeted social media strategies. We can help you find your social media voice too. Soon you’ll be connecting with potential new customers, and turning current customers into raving fans.

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