Trio Web Design
Trio Web Design

Saskatoon Businesses transitioning from Traditional Marketing to Inbound Marketing

posted by Trio Web Design    |   October 12, 2012 11:13

Once again we had a fantastic week at Trio Web Design! This week we had the opportunity to meet with passionate local Saskatoon businesses that are interested in diversifying their marketing budgets to include online forms of advertising.  A common theme during our meetings was the urgency to transition from traditional forms of marketing to inbound marketing strategies.

Regularly we are asked by businesses in Saskatoon, "how long do I have to keep pouring money into traditional outlets before I can make the transition to online initiatives completely?" Our reply is often quite straight forward, "well that depends on what your marketing strategy has been in the past, is currently, and what you are wanting to achieve in the future."  Many businesses believe that they can completely drop all of their traditional forms of marketing and jump right into the new wave of online marketing. While this might be an option for start-ups, unfotunately, for more well established businesses, this cold-cut strategy might not be well received by their long-time consumers or their staff.

Remember that change can be scary...so in this case patience is a virtue!

To answer some of the questions we received this week I found a great article by Anum Hussain, called "How to Painlessly Transition Your Company to Inbound Marketing", in this article Anum explains how to strategically incorporate inbound marketing strategies with traditional marketing initiatives. 

For anyone interested in further discussing the potential of inbound marketing strategies and how to transition their business from traditional to online advertising initiatives, feel free to give us a call at 1 (306) 716-0680. 

Hope you enjoy the article!

Have a great week. 

- CBB

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How to Painlessly Transition Your Company to Inbound Marketing

Posted by Anum Hussain - Mon, Oct 08, 2012 @ 08:00 AM

INTRODUCTION

We talk to people all the time that are totally sold on the inbound marketing methodology, but there's just one thing standing in their way from becoming a full-fledged inbound marketer ... they can't convince their boss they can switch to inbound marketing without experiencing a painful blow to their current marketing.

It makes sense -- change is hard, and honestly, nobody is going to let you waltz in and, with the snap of your fingers, totally change the way your business and marketing department functions. If someone came up to you and said that the proper way to cut paper is by grinding your teeth on it because it results in higher levels of efficiency than traditional scissors, would you make the swap? Of course not. Even if it was true. (Note: it's not.)

That means if you're really interested in transitioning your company to inbound marketing, it's time get a little sneaky. It's time to integrate your inbound marketing campaigns with your company's more traditional marketing campaigns. Over time, you can not only prove the value of inbound marketing as your campaigns start to generate staggering ROI -- numbers tend to do the convincing for you -- but you'll already have that gradual transition towards more inbound-friendly methods underway! So let's start that transition to inbound marketing together, right now, step-by-step ... here's what to do.

Merge Inbound Tactics with Outbound Campaigns

Many marketers have already started fusing online and offline marketing techniques. According to Marketing Charts, 90% of marketers believe using online data to optimize the offline experience is important. Furthermore, 73% of company marketers say they will be using a cross-channel marketing strategy over the next few years.

Clearly a large population of marketers are comfortable with weaving online marketing tactics with their traditional campaigns. So let's start there. Kindly request to make inbound tactics a part of the outbound promotion. Here's a few examples.

  • Connect Your Commercials with a Social Media Campaign

If you work for an organization that uses commercials to advertise their business, ask if you can get social media in on the action just a little bit. Perhaps something small, like a hashtag? Just look at this screenshot from an Audi commercial, for example.

 

This inclusion enables you to unify your online messaging with your advertising campaign, and gives you the opportunity to go to town with social content revolving around the hashtag. Use it in quotes, to start Twitter chats, when citing stats ... anything that can help unify the messaging from your commercial and the content you're publishing to social media.

  • Attach a Landing Page to Your Print Advertisements and Direct Mail

Your print advertisements may get you noticed, it's the call-to-action part that's difficult. In other words, is there any way to get someone to actually take action when they're inspired by your print ads? Well, when your team sits down to put together their next print ad, ask them for a little space for some copy that points readers to an online destination. This could be through a QR code like Gucci did below, or by simply including a URL.

 

This allows you to create a customized landing page just for this advertisement -- you know, something a little more personalized to the reader and the ad you created than just your homepage.

Simulataneously Run Inbound Campaigns Alongside More Traditional Campaigns

Now that you've started to integrate digital and print campaigns, ask if you can run a few additional "inboundy" campaigns of your own. Make this easier by promising you'll still complete your routine tasks -- these additional campaigns will be tests you're running in addition to those. While this will require more of your time for a bit, it won't require more of your budget, making it easier to sell your boss and colleagues on the subject. Here are some quick campaigns you can run to include in your ultimate portfolio for convincing your team.

  • Repurpose Existing Content to Create Some Lead Generation Offers

If you've been in business for a while -- even just a year or two -- you've likely accumulated a bunch of content and expertise without even knowing it. And if you want to do a test drive of an inbound marketing campaign, you're going to need that content and expertise. Gather your current sales and marketing collateral -- case studies, testimonials, brochures, whatever you got -- and start reworking it to spin it into offer content that you can put behind a form, and/or share across social media channels.

  • Set Up CTAs and Landing Pages

See if your boss would be alright with you making some website tweaks. You're not going to redesign the skin or anything, but you could improve upon what's already there ... and make some key new additions.

First, create a call-to-action that lives right on the homepage. It's easy, you can even make them in PowerPoint! That CTA should lead to a new landing page that houses one of those awesome new lead generation offers you just created. Make sure you consider what type of offer visitors to your home page might be interested in -- if the bulk of your traffic is coming in on branded keywords, for example, something a little further down your sales funnel, like a case study or product-focused whitepaper, might be most appropriate. When your sales team starts to see people "raising their hand" to talk about purchasing your product or service, you can bet they'll want to try more of that inbound marketing stuff.

  • Create Visual Social Media Content

Put on your creative hat and think of a cool new idea for increasing engagement on your social media channels. Can you create a series of memes around a common industry fad? Can you create a few visual representations of important stats and data in your field? You don't need Photoshop to do this, either. Just head over to memegenerator.net or use PowerPoint to whip up some visuals that can be easily shared, helping you generate more fans and followers and increase your overall social reach.

  • Create and Share Your Blog Content Strategically

Start writing posts on your company blog -- and if you don't have one, set one up! But be strategic. You can't just write a post and hope the world stumbles upon it. Instead, start sharing that post with advocates of your brand or others who would find it valuable. And yes, that includes your social media fans and followers. You also need to make sure search engines can find it by writing about topics germane to your company and industry. It would also help to start writing guest blog posts for other related sites so you can get some of those coveted inbound links that help your site rise in the search engine rankings!

Collect and Compare Metrics

Now that you've got some campaigns up and running, you can start collecting metrics that speak to their effectiveness. Collect every metric humanly possible. Generate reports that show you the number of times your hashtags were mentioned on Twitter. Look at your website analytics to see how many users were sent to your customized landing pages or landed on your website because of your blog posts. See which keywords drove the most traffic to your website. You know, see what didn't work, what did work, and what really, really worked. These metrics will show impact you can tie directly to business goals like generating revenue and closing new business.

Then it's time to organize all your results into a clear, succinct, and educational presentation so you can prove the ROI of inbound marketing to your team. And when you use data based off of recent campaigns -- data that you can tie directly to leads and customers generated -- you don't have that difficult of a case to make!

What tactics have you used to convince your boss and colleagues to invest in inbound marketing?

Image Credit: IT Tech News

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Online Promotional Strategies

Advertising on Facebook: Drive traffic to your website and Fan Page

posted by Trio Web Design    |   March 7, 2012 15:45

The online advertising trend continues to grow with more businesses turning their attention and focusing their marketing budgets to include pay-per-click Ads on sites such as Google and Facebook.  This morning I came across a great article highlighting strategies that businesses should consider before running a promotion on Facebook.

If you would like more information about running a Facebook promotion or need assistance in creating the graphics for a promotion contact us - we would be happy to help you drive more traffic to your Facebook Page and your website!

Enjoy the article. 

- CBB

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This post originally appeared on the American Express OPEN Forum, where Mashable regularly contributes articles about leveraging social media and technology in small business.

Facebook has become a no-brainer for small business owners looking for an easy way to promote and interact with new and regular customers. But before a small business owner launches a promotion on the platform, there are several things to consider — and a couple things to keep in mind after the launch.

North Social‘s managing partner David Brody, who specializes in promotion strategy and creative concepts, says that a small business owner should always take the time to craft the right objective, strategy and motivating value-based idea.

“By thinking through your promotional effort from start to finish, you’re giving your promotion the best chance at achieving social success — sounds simple right?” he says. “But you can’t imagine how many promotions fail because they didn’t have a smart plan in place.”

 

Building a Better Promotions Strategy


Before you rush to put a promotion in place, yourself these simple questions:

  • What am I trying to achieve?
  • How do I plan on achieving it?
  • First you need an objective — do you want fan growth, someone to sample your product, purchase, data collection or usage?

Brody says there are three common strategies to achieve your goals: added value, price discounts and merchandising. More specific examples of tactic would be coupons, product samples, sweepstakes, contests and downloads.

Once you’ve mapped this out, you can determine the type of Facebook application you’ll need. Keep in mind that there are a lot of promotions guidelines set by Facebook that small business owners might not know about. One common violation, Brody says, is using Facebook features or functionality as a promotion registration or entry mechanism.

“The act of ‘liking’ a Page cannot automatically enter you in a sweepstakes or contest,” he says. “You must also not condition registration or entry upon the user taking any action using any Facebook features or functionality other than ‘liking’ a Page, checking in to a Place, or connecting to your app.”

If you’re not sure whether your promotion is compliant with Facebook rules related to “like-gating” and entry collection, you could use a Facebook-approved promotion app. You can read the complete Facebook promotion guidelines here.

 

Are Contests For Everyone on Facebook?


“The ultimate goal of a running a promotion on Facebook is to inspire action — not squander away your valuable page traffic,” says Brody. “But in order to inspire action — Likes, shares, engagement — you’ll need to first serve up a meaningful experience or offer up something of value.”

Keep your audience in mind when planning a prize. Small business owners don’t necessarily need cash, cars and vacation trips to entice consumers into your Facebook promotion.

Instead, focus on what’s valuable to your audience — informative and entertaining content. Brody suggests digital goods, such as coupons, group discounts, samples, VIP invitations and video previews.

 

 

Things to Avoid When Running a Promotion

 

Always remember that simplicity is key — entry to the promotion should be as simple as possible.


“The more hoops you make them jump through in order to have a chance a receiving or winning something, the less likely they’ll participate — or tell their friends about it,” Brody says.

Also, don’t rely solely on the fans you already have to push new customers to your promotion. The best-constructed Facebook promotions can still fail without the help of other traffic drivers. It is unlikely, even among the hundreds millions of consumers on Facebook, that users will stumble onto your Facebook Page unless you give them directions, along with an easy way to navigate once they do find you.

Brody’s advice is to consider the following: “Outside of Facebook ads, which are extremely powerful at delivering new fans, what other marketing touch points do you have at your disposal that could create more buzz for your promotion?”

For example, if you sell a product or service offline, you could print a Facebook-only offer on your paper receipts to attract more fans. If your store is online, your packages could include a strong call-to-action, asking customers to join you on Facebook to discover special offers.

“Don’t assume your current customers already follow you on Facebook,” says Brody. “In fact, most of them probably don’t.”

Finally, keep in mind that the Facebook promotion itself is not the end goal. There’s an ultimate goal behind it.

“Your first goal should always be to get a visitor to take action by ‘liking’ or sharing your Facebook Page, but your second objective should be to get them to return to your Page and interact with your brand or business on a regular basis,” says Brody.

Examples Brody suggest are to entertain and inform — filling their news feed with thought-provoking and valuable messages that entice them to participate with your business.

“If you don’t deliver ‘high perceived-value’ on a regular basis, you could find your fans using their own thumb to hitch a ride to your competition’s page,” he says.

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Online Promotional Strategies

Internet Marketing: 3 Tips for Running a Successful Coupon Promotion Online

posted by Trio Web Design    |   August 3, 2011 10:26

As I was reading through my morning web design news, I came across a great article called 3 Tips for Running a Successful Daily Deal Promotion Online. John Amato, CEO of MarketSharing, shares the top 3 areas that businesses should carefully consider before launching the online coupon campaign. 

Have you ever considered doing an online coupon campaign with websites like Groupon Saskatoon ? If you have or are considering it - be sure to read this article - it might just assist you in executing the online promotion successfully!

- CBB

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John Amato is the CEO of MarketSharing, a premium business-to-business deals provider for exceptional business products and services. Follow @MarketSharing on Twitter for more information and the latest deals for businesses.

Recently, I stated my thoughts on why daily deal sites are here to stay, and it lead me to start thinking about the daily deal space a bit more.

We’ve all heard horror stories surrounding daily deals. A local café business goes belly up; a large restaurant becomes inundated with coupon hunters, thereby losing its regular customers. In this economic climate, such losses are not to be downplayed. However, do these stories mean that all daily deals are bad for business?

Quite simply, the answer is no, they aren’t.

As with any decision, a small business owner needs to take daily deals seriously and plan for successful execution. Just because a daily deal doesn’t require up front capital doesn’t mean it shouldn’t involve an investment of time and energy. Effective daily deals are built upon detailed planning and analysis. And when these crucial steps are carried out correctly, the effort will reap rewards.

When business owners are delving into these marketing campaigns, they should learn from three of the most common flaws of failed daily deals.


1. Know Your Margins


Daily deals discount a product or service, which can result in a serious financial plus or minus for a business. When reducing the price of a revenue generator, business owners need to know what goes into the cost of making their product and their margins. Knowing the margins will help daily dealers set their discounted price.

With the standard daily deal discount being 50%, and an additional 50% commission going to the deal site, the costs should be 25% or less of the retail price in order to break even. Granted, this equation changes based on the specifics negotiated with a deal provider. It serves more as a backbone equation to show that margins play a critical role in turning a positive promotion.

Business owners should keep in mind that by “only” breaking even, they have nonetheless used the daily deal platform to generate new customers at no cost.


2. Prepare for the Surge of Deal Seekers


One common daily deal issue involves hordes of new customers flooding one location all at once. If not managed and anticipated correctly, this rush places a tremendous stress on a business, its staff and its customers ⎯ both new and old alike.

In order to avoid this situation, the merchant should determine how much volume their business can handle with the daily deal promotion, and then cap the discounted units sold at that specific number. Ideally, the daily operations will not be disrupted. Furthermore, such analysis will work as a pseudo insurance plan if a merchant incorrectly crunches the margin numbers.

Additionally, new customer calamity can be avoided if merchants ask their deal provider for references from other local shops that ran similar deals. That way they’ll better understand the anticipated customer volume.

According to research conducted by deals site Yipit, businesses can expect approximately 25% of vouchers to be redeemed in both the first and last months of the campaign. Much like our margin equation, this data should help businesses prepare for the deal deluge. As such, business owners should make sure that staff is trained how to process the deal’s coupons, and that the facility can handle the surge of new customers.


3. Get Your Employees Onboard


It would seem that a business has the green light once it calculates margins and determines capacity. However, there’s still more to be done to drive success. Now each business owner should encourage their employees to help convert daily dealers from bargain hunters to repeat customers.

As Uptal Dholakia’s Groupon study states, the key factor in a successful campaign is employees. Workers should be educated on the intricacies and background of the deal so that the entire team knows how to achieve the desired goal.

For example, if a restaurant were to run a daily deal on a new dish, as opposed to the most popular one, the owner should tell the staff that they are doing so to highlight a new direction or strength, and that they should emphasize its selling points to new customers.

Most importantly, merchants and employees should be prepared for the increase in foot traffic, and thus, be ready to represent their company with a positive attitude. If new customers encounter a negative environment, they will ultimately connect that mood with the business, and probably decide to take the deal and run.

If merchants do their margin homework, prepare for the onslaught of new customers, and ensure that new customers encounter a positive experience, they will have created a solid backbone to generate repeat customers and avoid a daily deal disaster.


Trio Web Design
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