12 posts categorized "Holiday Marketing Series"

December 18, 2013

How Best Buy Used the Holiday Season to Grow their Text Marketing List

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Tis the season to rev up your mobile marketing. Black Friday, which heralds the start of the busy holiday shopping season, has passed. Brick-and-mortar retailers as well as digital entrepreneurs are searching for new ways to reach out to potential customers on the hunt for the perfect gift for their loved ones.

Savvy business owners understand the importance of engaging mobile customers to boost their profits during this lucrative time of gift giving. Entrepreneurs who neglect to join the digital revolution will not only miss out on the opportunity to increase their audience base, but they’ll also fail to take advantage of innovative technology that allows them to constantly engage with existing clients as well as new ones.

Best Buy, for instance, is demonstrating a great use of SMS marketing to build their mobile database during the holiday season. Customers who opt in with a holiday-specific keyword will be sent daily messages through the end of the year, linking to offers, with the hope that customers will remain in the database beyond the holidays to receive later marketing messages.

Additional mobile marketing strategies for retailers, such as Apple’s iBeacon technology, allow business owners to engage customers on the spot as they peruse the aisles of their store. By employing a groundbreaking indoor positioning system, the iBeacon can push notifications to a user’s mobile device, alerting him or her to an item on sale nearby or providing up-to-the-minute product information. Once customers download the app on their mobile device, they are also given an opportunity to pay for items via their cell phone, bypassing the traditional cash register.

This advanced location awareness technology is a brilliant new way of interacting with customers during the holiday season. As a business owner, text message marketing allows you to enhance your direct mail and social media campaigns and send timely holiday-based messaging to your customers to keep them engaged. Because subscribers opt-in to your digital alerts, this type of marketing is permission based and has a higher open rate than email marketing.

As the holiday shopping season shifts into high gear, SMS text marketing is a sure bet to drum up new clients and spread the word about your goods and services.

December 16, 2013

7 Projections for Mobile Marketing in 2014

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As 2013 winds to a close, retailers are looking for the next big thing on the digital horizon to expand their business and reposition their company in 2014. Perhaps you didn’t hit all of your revenue goals and your company simply broke even this year. Maybe you didn’t experience the growth you’d hoped for you and you ran out of exciting new ways to engage existing customers and attract new ones. Don’t despair. The coming year can be your best year yet.

Leading online mobile marketing network mobileFUSED recently published their list of the “Top Seven Projections for Mobile Marketing in 2014” and the article is getting a lot of buzz. By incorporating these tips into your text marketing campaign, you can empower your small business to grow and succeed.

  • Taming big data. In a nutshell, “big data” is a complex system of data sets that exceed the processing capacity of conventional database systems. Some examples include analysis of web behavior and social network interactions. MobileFUSED predicts that big data must be tamed in 2014 for an optimized mobile marketing experience. As a small business owner, reposition your company in 2014 and generate more leads by incorporating more targeted local advertising.
  • Return to content-relevant advertising. Mobile users are often bombarded with random ads on their devices and consider this an intrusive experience, which won’t lead to click-throughs. MobileFUSED sees a return to native advertising, which means providing content in the context of the shopper’s experience. For example, if you own a beauty supply business, you could take advantage of Sponsored Tweets on Twitter or Sponsored Ads on Facebook that pop up organically when the user is searching for certain beauty products.
  • Take advantage of explosive growth in mobile sales. Experts are predicting explosive growth during the holiday season as shoppers turn to their cell phones and tablets to make purchases as opposed to traditional brick-and-mortar shops. Savvy entrepreneurs will do outreach to their customers via mobile marketing campaigns, whether you’re promoting new items or alerting consumers about seasonal products that are on sale.
  • Location-based mobile marketing is the next big thing. Apps like iBeacon allow business owners to engage with customers in-store by offering information about nearby products and alerting them to items on sale. Location-based marketing allows retailers to track the shopping habits of customers and hit them with deals on the spot.
  • Adopt digital wallets for ease of shopping. If you’ve never heard of a digital wallet, it’s time to beef up your tech vocabulary. Also known as an e-wallet, a digital wallet works through an app on your smartphone. For instance, if you’re at a clothing store, you might wave your smart phone on a compatible register to pay instantly. E-wallet technology gives your customers greater flexibility and allows them to pay for purchases quickly.
  • Optimize your website for mobile. There’s nothing more frustrating for a user than visiting a site on a mobile device or tablet only to wait eons for the page to load. Slow-loading websites that aren’t optimized for mobile will cause your company to lose out on potential business. Make sure your site is enhanced with HTML5 responsive features for fastest mobile browsing.
  • Stay abreast of changing smartphone technology. MobileFUSED believes that advances in technology and hot new features will change how we do business on tablets and smartphones. Since smartphones are transforming the retail landscape, your mobile marketing strategies should incorporate ways to engage users in-store on their mobile devices.

How do you plan to jumpstart your business in the New Year? Write it in a comment.

November 11, 2013

Estimated Increase in Mobile Purchases this Holiday Season

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Mobile advertising solutions are expected to pay dividends this Christmas, as businesses latch on to the benefits of mobile phone advertising. New data from Hipcricket shows that 53% of shoppers plan to spend more money through their smartphone or tablet in 2013 than in 2012.

The survey also showed that 59% of smartphone users made at least one purchase on their device. The conclusion drawn was that mobile devices are expected to contribute to this season's holiday commerce as a driver of sakes and as a shopping research tool. The report also found that:

  • 41% said they will spend between $1 and $99 via a mobile device this year
  • 23% said they will spend between $100 and $249
 via a mobile device this year
  • 25% said they have made between two and four mobile purchases in the past six months

  • 83% said they intend to research products using a mobile device
  • 75% say they will be reading product reviews on a mobile device

The reasons are obvious. Smartphone usage has grown massively over the past few years, and shoppers point to the ease-of-transaction offered by devices, and the security of having an e-trail for every part of the purchase. The recent upsurge in complementary technology, from geo fencing to mobile apps, is helping the mobile advertising industry through a considerable boom. The handheld device is clearly the future of commerce, from product launch via mobile advertising to point of sale and beyond. 

Of course, it works more effectively for some businesses than others. Different industries are affected in different ways, with books, music, video and concert tickets picking up the bulk of business generated through mobile devices. Consumer electronics and health and beauty are also benefitting from the smartphone boom.

What is clear for all businesses is the fact that mobile advertising services work. They engage the customer directly, at a personal level, and can direct them straight towards an easy-to-use payment platform. Along the way, consumers can look at user reviews, company background – anything that might help them make a decision. Get your mobile advertising solutions up and running before December, and you can reap the same benefits as everyone else...

November 10, 2013

Combat Showrooming with Mobile Marketing

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Showrooming, the practice of using bricks and mortar retail outlets to scope out products before searching online for a better deal, is becoming a real threat to businesses who rely on in-store sales. A report from Vibes surveyed 1000 smartphone owners, and the results were shocking, with 44% of respondents admitting to showrooming frequently. 

As with most internet trends, the effects are especially obvious among the younger demographic, with half of those under 35 claiming to showroom for 50% of their purchases. In the over 35 group, just 31% said they used the tactic. Over the past two years, there has been a 156% increase in consumers purchasing from a competitor on their smartphones while in-store.

It's a remarkable power-switch from the old days, when price-fixing was the white-collar crime of unscrupulous businesses, committed behind closed doors with nary a regard for the customers on the ground. The tables are now firmly turned, and retailers are taking the hits. 

But what, if anything, can you do to combat the effects of showrooming on your business? According to Jack Philbin, the CEO of Vibes, the key is developing "contextually relevant and personalized mobile experiences that motivate and influence consumers to take notice and make purchases." 

Building brand loyalty with mobile marketing campaigns requires retailers to up their game. In-store incentives, preference-based special offers – anything you can do to leverage attention away from competitors will help reduce the chances of customers using your outlet to window shop but not buy. Here are some top tips for counteracting showrooming:

Recognize the Advantages of Mobile Marketing

Instead of railing against some perceived digital tyranny, use the technology to your advantage. Launch an app that customers can use in-store to see all the product information they would get (including reviews) from Amazon. Prompt customers to download the app by giving them a small freebie for doing so, and ask them to opt in to mobile text marketing lists so you can send them offers that may appeal. Remember, 60% of consumers want mobile content that matches their interests, so harvest as much information from them as you can.

Provide Free Wi-Fi

This is a winning strategy, as it gets potential customers onside as soon as they walk into your store. Recent stats from JiWire indicate that free in-store wi-fi influences the shopping habits of 44% of people. 

Improve Customer Service

So you've won people over with free wi-fi and a useful app. They're already less-inclined to look elsewhere. Now you need to provide a personalized experience – it might just be the key differentiator between your outlet and the cheap-but-impersonal website.

Offer Unique Products

The best way to make your price unbeatable is by ensuring there is nothing to which your product can be compared. Increasingly, suppliers are being asked to create product lines that can only be sold in stores.

 

As the holiday season approaches, retailers have a fantastic opportunity to create memorable, personalized experiences for shoppers. A combination of targeted mobile SMS marketing campaigns, freebies, customer service and wifi-enabled locations can help retailers wrest control of their market away from smartphones, and back into the real world.

November 20, 2012

The Best Holiday Season Ever: Week 8

Entry By Jason Brick

We're in the final stretch, our last week of preparation for Black Friday...this Friday. Although you've missed most of the action if you're tuning in this week, take a look at the whole series to help you get ready for next year. If you've been with us the whole time, congratulations! With a bit of luck, your hard work is going to pay off with the best retail season of your business's life. 

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This week combines your final exam with graduation. You have just one thing to do this week: Your Big, Bad Black Friday Bonanza. But the action doesn't start on Friday. Although every business and situation demands its own schedule, you'll do well if you stick to these basic guidelines. Now is time to stage everything for the action later in the week. Find time to take care or all of the following little tasks:

  • Catch up on any cleaning that fell by the wayside in past weeks
  • Confirm with every member of your staff they they understand their schedule and duties, and can commit to fulfilling them. 
  • Do whatever is necessary to ensure that any items you've ordered from suppliers will arrive on time. 
  • Schedule text messages reminding winners of your contests and all elite team members of your early bird sale for Wednesday night. 
  • Schedule text messages each day this week, each of which includes a countdown reminder (just 76 hours until...) and a teaser for one of the great specials you'll be running on Black Friday.

Tuesday

Finalize your schedule for Wednesday night and Friday. Wednesday, you'll be running a one-to-two hour exclusive early bird event for your winners, elite team, and guests. Determine the best time according to your industry and area. For example, a retail shop might stay open an hour late, while a restaurant might hold an exclusive mean during the lunch rush. 

For Friday, you'll want to follow the lead of your competition. If the other sporting goods store in town opens at 5:00, open at 4:50. If the bar across the street runs happy hour until 8:00, run yours until 9:00.

Tuesday shouldn't be the first day you think about the schedule. Now is the time to confirm the final details, nothing more. 

Wednesday

Run your early-bird special, and support it with text and social media reminders before and during the event. Bonus points for door prizes, time-sensitive extra discounts and anything else to get people as excited as possible. If you run out of stock during this sale, feel free to sleep in on Friday. You've earned it. 

Thursday

Take the day off. Hug your family. Watch the game. 

Friday

Run your sale. By now, you and your staff should be mostly ready. You've planned your work...now work your plan. If business every starts to flag, send a text broadcast offering a limited deal for people who show up in the next hour. Use that instantaneous communication to keep people coming in all day long. 

But that's not all! Black Friday is the beginning of the holiday retail season. With such a powerful start, what plans do you have to ride the momentum all the way to 2013? Tell us about it in the comments. 

November 14, 2012

The Best Holiday Season Ever: Week 7

Entry By Jason Brick

We're in the home stretch. Just two more weeks of work and events until Black Friday has come and gone again. For those of you joining us for the first time, read weeks one through six of our Small Business Holiday Marketing series. It's a bit late to get full benefit, but you'll find a few ideas you can still take action on. 

This week, you'll feel a bit like a racer lining up on the blocks. You'll finish the last of the warm-ups and start getting ready for the big event. To that effect, we'll focus our energy on three things:

  1. Collectors Series, Week Two
  2. Clearance Event
  3. Changing Your Front Area

With those done, you'll have everything in place to go hard during next week's sales. 

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Collector's Series, Week Two

Last week, you sent a series of small discounts and offered a wider discount for people who came in with multiple coupons. This week, you'll go one further. Send three more messages out, sending each on every media platform you use. Again, these will be small deals like a minor discount or free drink with a meal. The difference will be in the value of collecting. Any customer who uses all three deals this week gets admission to next week's Black Friday sales. People who come in several times this week are folks you can pre-frame for big sales and your best deals. Make sure they know they get to bring some friends to that early admission.

Clearance Event

This one's simple. Remember in previous weeks when you went through your front and back areas, identifying items that aren't moving. If you haven't already identified the items that will make the best loss-leaders for next week, do that now and set them aside. Everything else goes on display at the front of your store, offered at as steep a discount as you can offer without experiencing physical pain. Everybody who buys anything also gets a ticket for early admission to your Black Friday event. 

Changing the Front Area

Do this later in the week, after consumers have bought most of your clearance items. Now is the time to rearrange your displays -- and even your furniture -- to make the shop ready for Black Friday. You'll know better than us marketing experts about how best to arrange your shop for a major sale. Just do it this week when you have time to make adjustments. Don't wait until the last minute.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Out of curiosity, how do our retailers balance the Black Friday thing with time for family during this holiday season? Tell us about it in the comments below...

November 06, 2012

The Best Holiday Season Ever: Week 6

Entry By Jason Brick
Click here to catch up with weeks one through five. We're about three-quarters done, but that doesn't mean you can't get good value from following the rest of the series.

The Finish Line


It's time to get serious
this week as we round the last corner and see the finish line ahead. If you've been keeping up, you now have a solid list of new subscribers and a customer base that's already used to participating and being involved with your brand. It's time to start capitalizing on that involvement to make everybody excited about what comes next. We'll do that with three pieces:

  1. Collector Series Week One
  2. Social Media Poll
  3. Deep Clean Front Area 

Collector Series

This week, put out four posts with small-scale deals, using different media for each one. A restaurant might drop a 10% o ff lunch coupon via SMS, a free drink on Facebook, a happy hour special on Twitter and a deal on Pinterest. There's one catch. In addition to the individual deals, offer a larger deal for people who come in with multiple coupons. Maybe an extra appetizer, or a free T-shirt. This rewards people for engaging with all your marketing feeds, and encourages people to subscribe to multiple lists. 

Social Media Poll

Use Facebook for this one, but announce it via an SMS broadcast. The idea is simple. Find out what kind of Black Friday deals your customers would like to see most. Run two to three instances of the poll, narrowing down options each time. A sporting goods store might run the poll like this:

  • Poll 1: What category of gear would you most like to see on ubersale this season? High school sports, Water gear, Winter clothes or High-ticket items?
  • Poll 2: Folks want to see high-ticket items on sale this se ason. What price point are you thinking you'll have for your most expensive holiday purchase? $50 to $100, $100 to $200, $200 to $500, over $500?
  • Poll 3: Most people chose the $200 to $500 category. What would excite you most? Some $600 to $800 items brought down to $500, or $500 items brought to the $300 level?

By the end of the week, your most engaged and enthusiastic customers will have told you exactly how to win their business on Black Friday.

Deep Clean Front Area

Close early one night in the middle of the week and clean the ever-loving bejeezus out of every area your customers might see. Scrub walls. Paint scuffs. Throw out those little piles of accumulated detritus. While you're at it, pull merchandise that's been sitting around unmoved for a few weeks. Set them aside for prizes and giveaways for next week.

Can we ask a favor? We can tell by the huge number of social shares that you're getting value out of this seri es. Could a few of you leave a comment to tell us what we're doing well and what you'd like to see different? It will help us close this series with the biggest possible bang. Thanks.

October 31, 2012

The Best Holiday Season Ever: Week 5

Entry By Jason Brick

Ed. Note - Sorry about the late publishing date this week, but we've been digging out from Hurricane/Snowmageddon/Snowpocalypse Sandy

Click here to read earlier entries in this series. Though you've joined the class half-way through, you can still turn a lot of these ideas into easier work and higher profits. 

This week features Halloween on Wednesday, so a lot of our time will focus on preparing for, running and recovering from that. As in previous weeks, we're looking at three tasks:

  1. Promoting and Running a Successful Halloween Event
  2. Gathering Data With a Halloween Contest
  3. Week Two of Your Pass it On Event

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Halloween Event

Different businesses and communities will have different appropriate events. A day care might host a not-too-scary haunted house, while a local bar could run a sexy costume contest. If you're in the right location, you can always take part in the safe trick-or-treating street festival most towns are doing these days. 
Whatever the event, you need to make sure it involves the following key points:

  • A signup sheet or quick reference code for all visitors with a clear call-to-action to join your text message broadcasts.
  • Flyers or postcards announcing upcoming events and specials -- which you will announce via text and social media channels.
  • Inexpensive door prizes, and discounts for bringing new friends to the party.

Keep in mind that sales and fun during the event are not the real goal of your Halloween shindig. Your real goal here is to increase the number of people who know about your business, and to learn how to contact as many of them as possible. 

Halloween Contest

Not everybody will be able to come in on Halloween Night to join your big event, but you don't want to leave them out. Broadcast your Halloween photo contest via SMS, social media and emails. Again, what the contest is about will depend on your audience. Kid-friendly contest might be about costumes, or photos of jack-o-lanterns. Adult businesses might be considerably more risque. 

The point here is engagement and participation, so offer a discount or free prize for all participants and a bigger gimme for the winners. Also offer an additional benefit for any new subscribers to participate, and for people who bring in a friend. 

Pass It On Week Two

Last week you put the word out about your subscription drive, which you'll run this week right alongside your party and contest. This may seem like a lot of work, but it capitalizes on the energy of the holiday and you'll get more participation. 

You set up tiers of prizes, for escalating people brought in as subscribers, likers or otherwise signed up with your media channels. Each day this week, announce the results and send one message on each major channel about the prizes and the deadlines. By the end of the week, you should have a significant increase in the number of people signed up to hear about what's going on with your business. This means more people participating in your bigger sales days going into November and December. 

How's this working out for you, readers? Tell us your stories and ask us your questions in the comments.

October 24, 2012

The Best Holiday Season Ever: Week 4

Entry By Jason Brick

See all entries in this Series to catch up if you're joining us mid-season. This series is meant to help you use the slower pre-holiday weeks to ramp up for high performance from Black Friday to New Year's Day. 

This week we start prepping for the first big holiday of Q3 and 4: Halloween. We'll riff off that enthusiasm and start launching two of our most important tools for success on the bigger holidays in the coming months. You'll spend your time on the following tasks:

  1. Halloween Hints Text Series
  2. Pass It On Week One
  3. Hiring Holiday Staff

If you're coming in late in the game, this is a week you can't afford to skip. You'll need to double-time it this week and next to make sure you're up to speed.

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Halloween Hints Text Series

Three times this week, and three times next, broadcast an SMS message to your subscribers with a seasonal hint related to your business. Don't be salesy on this. Make it informational. Ideas include safety tips for family outings, news about local events, even reviews of movies coming to the local revival theaters. The idea is to get people looking forward to your text messages as a source of news and entertainment. Once you establish this thought, you'll get a much better response rate. 

Pass It On Week One

This week, you leak the news about your big subscription drive for next week. Put the word out in social media, SMS messages and print flyers in your shop. Set up three to five tiers of prizes, each for bringing in a new person for your social media and SMS communities. You'll run the contest next week. This week, choose what the prizes and deals will be -- and let everybody know what to expect. 

Hiring Holiday Staff

Not every business needs extr a help during the holiday season, but most do. Now is the time to interview and select that help. Do it earlier, and people will flake out on you. Wait much longer, and all the good help will be taken by other shops. Before advertising in general, reach out to former staff who left on good terms -- especially kids who went away for college or quit after summer work .
Let's hear some reports from the front. Who out there has success stories or tales of terror? Questions about how to make this work the best? Comment below to join the conversation!

October 17, 2012

The Best Holiday Season Ever: Week 3

This is part three of our series to get you ready for the holiday rush season. Find Week 2 right here , or start from the beginning here.

This week we start getting the word out and collecting names, as well as a little house cleaning. You'll focus your efforts on three areas:

  • Running an SMS Savings Poll
  • Conducting a Social Media Drive
  • Deep Cleaning Your Back Areas

This week is like the beginning of a chess game. Your moves won't be the ones that directly win the match, but they position you to be more efficient and powerful later down the line.

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  • Running an SMS Savings Poll
    Brainstorm four different ways to offer savings to your subscribers throughout quarter four. Examples might include buy one/get one, a free small item with a larger purchase, high percentage discounts on set items, or discounts for buying in bulk. Whatever you decide, use your knowledge of the business to select the four that will mean the most profit for you. 

    Then broadcast an SMS poll asking your subscribers to select the deal they like best. Honor that poll so your most engaged customers feel a sense of ownership and belonging. This will immensely increase how many people show up for your sale events. 
  • Conducting a Social Media Drive
    SMS, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter are all reasonably effective marketing tools -- but none are as effective as all four together. Starting on Monday, offer something special -- such as membership in your elite team from last week -- to anybody who signs up to follow your social media feeds. Announce the deal in every platform you use, and give an extra bonus to anybody who gets a friend signed up. Moving forward, you'll broadcast your announcements on every platform you have. 
  • Deep Cleaning Your Back Areas
    If your facility is messy at the beginning of the holiday season, it will be a disaster by the end. Spend time this week going over all your non-public areas with a fine-tooth comb. Throw out things you don't need. Organize areas for better storage. Dust. This new cleanliness is proven to help your team feel more energetic and focused...and you might find some forgotten products to add to your clearance pile. 

Readers, how are we doing so far? What's your experience with the program? Comment below to help us help you better!