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Defining Social Media ROI

Defining Return On Investment Is As Easy As Subtracting Dollars Spent From Net Profit. If Only It Was That Simple To Measure Social Media ROI.

Calculating social impact on current and potential customers is kind of like trying to figure out if you’re having any influence on the behavior of your teenagers. You’re pretty sure they know you exist because they’ve liked you at one time or another and you see them around occasionally, but they don’t seem to be hearing you, so you find yourself always looking for new ways to deliver important messages. And just when you’ve given up and don’t expect any change in their behavior, they show up and surprise you—sometimes months or even years later.

In these days of constantly changing platform algorithms and ever-shrinking organic reach, getting a grip on the value of your social media efforts—especially if you’re not paying to play—can be frustrating. A recent Manta survey found that small business owners are evenly split on their willingness to spend dollars to promote their business on social media. And among those who do invest, nearly 60 percent report no return.

Those numbers raise a couple of questions. What exactly does that ‘R’ in ROI mean? Is it a relationship? Revenue? Return? How do you define social media ROI? What are the goals you want to measure, and how do you measure them?

Defining The ‘R’

The challenge of defining social ROI. Many people mistake the ‘R’ in ROI for revenue, and return can come in a lot of different forms. I would look at it in terms of what matters to your business, what are you looking to accomplish? Not what do you want social media to do for you, but at the end of the day, what are you hoping to achieve, what does success look like?

Once you’ve pondered and answered those questions, you can begin to look at social media to achieve goals and measure something that actually matters to your organization. Is your focus on pushing a product or improving a current product? Is it customer service? Is it increased media placement? Is it lead generation? Is it building community and connecting with current customers? Or is it the Holy Grail, acquiring new customers?

Objectives-Based Returns

Manta’s survey asked small business owners to define their primary goal for using social media. Nearly 37 percent identified acquiring and engaging new customers as their top aim, followed by driving awareness and marketing (17 percent) and gaining lead generations/referrals (15 percent). Only eight percent said building community was paramount.

Those results aren’t surprising, says Dooley, but they are perhaps a bit out of order because the content isn’t a linear path to conversion. “I actually think social media is better for maintaining or increasing touch points with current customers or people who are already in your circle versus acquiring new customers. Truthfully, especially for small businesses, your next wave of customers is going to come from people who are already connected to your current customers. That’s word-of-mouth 101.”

Social media is the digital platform for word-of-mouth marketing. Set your objective, find out which platforms your current customers prefer (ask, research the social media habits of your desired demographic), what they’re talking about, who they’re talking to and why.

“A great posture to have is to treat it like a community,” noted Dooley. “The term target audience is used a lot, and that to me is the wrong term because I think it makes it seem like the band is on stage and entertaining and sending information out to influence the audience. And it’s more complicated than that with social media. I think the posture should be more like you’re sitting in the audience in the seat next to them, and talking with them and learning from them and creating rapport and inviting them to connect with you and do business with you.”

Successful social media engagement that eventually leads to conversion is active, planned and ongoing. Listen and respond rather than sit back and observe passive one-way conversations. Dooley tells a story about a client in growth mode seeking a younger restaurant clientele. His agency suggested adding a platform to their already successful Facebook efforts, and they suspected Twitter was the right choice but did a test to confirm. They ran a Facebook contest and as part of the entry form asked entrants what another platform they used most often. Twitter was the overwhelming answer, so the next step was a platform search for brand mentions that resulted in a fine of hundreds of tweets a week. “We basically said, this is like people picking up the phone and calling your customer service and you not picking up the phone.”

Measuring Return

So you’ve planned, connected and shared your stories—now what? Social ROI calculators are easy to find, but may not account for the metrics necessary to set the stage for your particular social objectives. Dooley suggests tracking a handful of performance metrics, specifically click-through rates (Facebook). And for content, track repins, retweets and shares. Use Web analytics to look at unique visitors from social and their time on your site. “The ultimate goal is to have someone else saying this piece of content is so good that I’m going to take the time, and put my social reputation on the line for putting this content in front of my audience.”

Those nonlinear conversions that happen because you’ve created a social customer relationship over time aren’t easy to track, but your objective planning will include campaigns—coupons, promo codes, contests that you can follow and measure in dollar-for-dollar return. And then you can account for all three ‘R’s—relationship, return, and revenue.

Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | http://fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | Info@FivensonStudios.Com

Why a FAQ is One of Your Hardest Working Marketing Tools

FAQ pages are quickly becoming a standard convention for service firm websites. But in this article, I’d like to broaden your appreciation of a FAQ page to what I believe it really is: a high-return, low-cost marketing tool that can address a broad range of marketing, sales and service tasks.

Reasons every service firm should have a FAQ page
A FAQ helps potential buyers educate and pre qualify themselves 

As visitors land on your site, some of them naturally wish to learn how your capabilities can help them. Enter the FAQ. With an eye towards creating FAQs that anticipate and answer prospects most pressing questions, you can actually move the sales dialogue along—without committing any labor to the selling process.  For example, if your FAQ page features questions like "What is the profile of a best-fit client for your firm?", “What kinds of projects does your firm specialize in?” and “What do you typically charge for a project?” you can both educate and pre qualify prospects with your FAQ.

A content-rich FAQ page reduces demands on your support staff

FAQ pages evolved from a product manufacturer’s need to free up their customer service staffs from routine customer questions. By surfing a FAQ page for questions and answers, a potentially confused (thus potentially dissatisfied) customer could find the answer to their question and not burden your service staff. The same principle applies to any service firm. The easier you make it for prospects and buyers to serve themselves, the more satisfied they become working with your firm.

A FAQ acts as a great internal training device 

imagine the HR director for your firm who is training a roomful of new hires. Imagine that as part of her standard orientation, she calls up your firm’s FAQ page online and walks the new recruits through each FAQ. In a matter of 20 minutes, she can educate recruits on the most fundamental marketing and service issues of your firm such as “What makes our firm different from all others in the market?” and “Who do I go to if I have a service problem?”, and as a result train a new group of marketing ambassadors.

imagine the HR director for your firm who is training a roomful of new hires. Imagine that as part of her standard orientation, she calls up your firm’s FAQ page online and walks the new recruits through each FAQ. In a matter of 20 minutes, she can educate recruits on the most fundamental marketing and service issues of your firm such as “What makes our firm different from all others in the market?” and “Who do I go to if I have a service problem?”, and as a result train a new group of marketing ambassadors.

A FAQ page can help optimize your website’s internal links 

If you look at Amazon’s Investor Relations page (http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=97664&p=irol-faq ), you’ll see that not only does it provide answers to the most relevant questions, but it also provides relevant internal links back to sections of the Amazon site—in other words, Google Juice.

FAQs that answer prospect questions

Prospective clients have very different questions about your firm versus clients. Most prospect questions revolve around why they should do business with your firm. Here are some standard FAQs in this area:

Why would my organization need to hire an architectural firm (or marketing agency, or engineering firm, or consulting firm)?

What does an architectural firm (or marketing agency, or engineering firm, or consulting firm) do

How is (Your firm) different from all other firms in your industry?

What's the profile of an ideal client for (Your firm)?

What reasonable outcomes can I expect from working with (Your firm)?

Why would I choose (Your firm) over one of the larger firms?

What do you charge? How do you bill? What are your terms?

Do you guarantee your work?

What steps are necessary before we can start working together?

FAQs that answer course-of-business questions

FAQs can also be used to manage relationships with clients well after the ink has dried on the contract. Another set of FAQs should deal with the common questions clients have during the course of working on a project with your firm.

These course-of-business FAQs include:

Who is assigned to our account?

How often do we meet? Where do we meet?

What are our responsibilities during the project?

What are your responsibilities during the project?

Where do I go to get my service issues addressed?

How often will our company meet with yours during the project?

What recourse do we have to terminate a relationship once our work begins?

What options do we have to continue working with you after the project is complete?

How to find the answers to FAQs that stump you

If you don’t have all the answers to FAQs at your fingertips, you might try these avenues to find more information:

Sales and customer service field reps

Sales reports

Customer service feedback forms

Customer service phone recordings

Company chat room responses

Company blog comments.

 

If you can’t find enough FAQ information using these, why not take this opportunity to reach out to your clients? You could email a smattering of your best clients with an email that goes something like this:

Hi, 

We at (Your firm) are developing a FAQ page for our website and are wondering if we could get your input. Would you have time to answer two brief questions?:

 

  1. What were the most common questions you had about our firm before becoming a client?

 

  1. What kinds of questions do you routinely ask about our firm after becoming a client?

 

Sincerely,

Your Name

Your Firm, Inc.

You’d be surprised how many people will actually help you when you reach out to them for help like this.

 

Some tips on formatting your FAQ page

In my view, FAQ’s work best when each FAQ leads off with a question. It’s now a standard convention to write FAQs this way. However, Google Reader’s FAQ page (http://www.google.com/help/reader/publishers.html) doesn’t follow this format and I find the page a bit more difficult to navigate.

If your page has just a few FAQs on it, five or less, just list the questions with the responding answer in random order on the page and let visitors scroll to find the FAQ they’re looking for. But if your firm has more than five FAQ’s, start off with a “table of contents” that lists all the questions in a hyperlink format. Then, after the visitor clicks on the question they want answered, they dynamically jump to the answer further down on the page.

For those pages with multiple FAQs, consider sequencing your FAQs. Chronologically sequencing your FAQs means that the first FAQs would deal with prospect questions they want answered before doing business with you. The next section of FAQ’s would cover the stage of signing a contract with your firm. And the last section might deal with common post-sale FAQs.

When writing the FAQs themselves, I’ve found that formatting the questions differently from the answers (e.g. italicizing the question and using a standard font for the answer) is a handy way for the reader to distinguish between the two parts of every FAQ.

Categorizing a whole bunch of  FAQs

When you arrive at the IRS’s FAQ page (http://www.irs.gov/faqs/index.html), you’re confronted with hundreds of frequently asked questions (I have about a hundred myself). How do they organize and categorize all these FAQs? Quite well, I think.  They group their hundreds of FAQs by category, subcategory and even by keyword.

Another service organization, the U.S. Copyright Office, sorts all its FAQs by major subheading http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/ . So, if you have a question about registering your work, you scroll down to the heading marked “Registering a Work”. Then under that heading you’ll find over 15 specific FAQs including “How do I register my copyright?”, “Where can I get application forms?” and “Can I file online?”

One thing I’d like to see more on FAQ pages is a question at the very end of the FAQ page that says “Didn’t find the FAQ you were looking for? Email us and we’ll consider adding it”. In this age of Web 2.0 why not reach out to your market and seeks its opinion?

Henry Kissinger once said, “Any fact that needs to be disclosed should be put out now because otherwise, the bleeding will not end.” I’d like to alter that slightly to read “Any FAQ should be put out now so the buying can begin”. If you’re like most service firms I work with, you struggle every day to generate marketing tools that are low cost, high ROI: ones that move a buyer to a sale, and keep current clients by strengthening the relationship. Consider adding a FAQ page to your marketing toolkit because it can do all this and more.

Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | http://fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | Info@FivensonStudios.Com

Search Engine Optimization Meet Pay-Per-Click

As I continue to work with companies seeking to improve the return of their online marketing dollars, I’ve gained a new appreciation for the marriage of search engine marketing and search engine optimization.

Just a like a company’s house list, the information they gather from their own PPC campaigns can provide a significant boost to the effectiveness of their search engine optimization efforts. The key is to know what information you’re looking for and how to use it to generate qualified visitors to your website.

Qualified visitors are those that have a higher degree of interest in your products or services and a greater likelihood of purchasing your products. I’ve often seen websites that have reduced their traffic while significantly improving conversion rates. The result is lower costs related to traffic acquisition and higher revenue. With more revenue and less expense, margins reach a new level of success.

The concept that I teach in SEO training is the most effective way to combine pay-per-click advertising with search engine optimization is to focus on conversions. What keywords have you promoted through pay per click advertising that led to conversions? If you’ve been running PPC for a while and you are still unsure, then consider expanding your analytics to include Google conversion tracking.

Once you have the answer and know which terms produce the greatest conversions, regardless of ad variation, then you SEO keywords have been determined. You want to generate organic traffic to the same keywords you’re promoting through PPC as long as they are generating your highest conversions.

An example of this might be someone promoting an e-book on how to fix a car. If the highest converting keyword is, “car repair”, then you should consider car repair as a keyword phrase you must optimize for. Organic traffic to this term will produce targeted website visitors and conversions for little or no money as you improve your rankings.

The last piece is to take your highest converting landing pages and build in some or all of the elements into your website. Once you’ve tracking and optimized landing pages via PPC, you can duplicate what you’ve learned from a conversion perspective organically. Consider applying the landing page elements that have generated the highest return for you on your pay-per-click advertising.

Whether you’re new to SEO or consider yourself a search engine optimization expert, leveraging your pay-per-click advertising is the best investment you can make. Determine which keywords generate the type of traffic that is most valuable to you and optimize around these terms. They will generate more traffic and revenue at a lower cost.

 

Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | http://fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | Info@FivensonStudios.Com

Social Media Time Management

One of the most common problems for small business owners is managing their time when using social media marketing platforms. Many individuals feel that free marketing, specifically social media marketing (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, etc), is too time-consuming and overwhelming. Small business owners aren't sure what to focus on, where to spend their time and how to balance all of their varying marketing platforms. As a result, many individuals end up spending hours and hours every day marketing their small business. It certainly doesn't need to be this way. Of course, free marketing is going to take some time and energy every day but, it should only take you one hour/day if you work smart and strategically. Here are 7 time management strategies to help you work smarter, as opposed to harder.

1 Narrow Your Focus

There are hundreds of free marketing platforms to choose from. You can't possibly market on all of them. My rule of thumb is to pick five free platforms and focus your marketing efforts there. You'll never succeed if you try to conquer too much. Remember, you don't want to be a "Jack of all Trades, Master of None!" You want to master a few marketing strategies well.

2 Spend Time Each Day on "Creation" and "Maintenance"

Every day you should "create" new information. This can be accomplished by writing an article, shooting a video, creating a group (FaceBook, LinkedIn), etc. The new information that you create doesn't have to be long and time-consuming. For instance, you can shoot a 3-minute video and upload it to YouTube all under fifteen minutes time. In addition to creating information, you should spend time each day maintaining your sites. This can be accomplished by liking Instagram photos, writing on Facebook walls, adding LinkedIn connections, posting to Twitter, etc. If you divide your time between creating information and maintenance, you will be working smarter.

3 Set an allotted amount of time for marketing each day

You want to approach your marketing with a plan. And that includes a plan for how much time you will devote each day to marketing your business. If you simply "start marketing" without any sense of how much time you will devote, you'll be extremely non-productive. I generally recommend spending 1-2 hours every day actively marketing your business. However, you also do not want to spend more time than necessary on marketing. If you log into Facebook and begin "to market" without a plan of action, you might still be there six hours later. So, decide how much time you will spend on marketing and stick to it.

4 Use a Timer

Using a timer might sound silly, but it's certainly a trick that I have always relied on. When I am writing an article, I set my timer for 30 minutes. I give myself exactly 30 minutes to write my article. If I don't finish, then I will have to finish tomorrow. You'd be surprised how much more efficient you are when there is a timer clicking away in the background.

5 Connect Your Accounts

Make sure that you connect all of your social media and information accounts that you can connect. As an example, you can add your Twitter account to your article distribution accounts (Ideamarketers, Ezineartices, etc). Then, whenever you publish an article, your Twitter account will be automatically updated with your newest article. Again, you can add Twitter to your FaceBook account, so that your "Twitters" appear on your FaceBook profile. Take some time to investigate all the ways that you can integrate and connect your accounts together. This will save you valuable time in the long-run.

6 Recycle Your Efforts

Whenever I write an article, I reuse it in many different ways. Here is an example: Imagine that I write an article titled, "7 Ways To Market On FaceBook." Then I publish that article in multiple article directories. However, it doesn't stop there. Next, I post that same article to my blog. After that, I use the basic concept from my article for a YouTube video. After that, I Twitter about that concept as well. The point is that when I have a new idea, I reuse that concept as many times as possible.

7 Track What Works and Focus Your Efforts There

You'll soon find that when it comes to free marketing and social networking that it's often difficult to accurately track your marketing statistics. For instance, when using PPC (pay-per-click) it is simple to add a code to your website and find out exactly how many people are visiting your website, opting into your form and making purchases. This isn't as simple when it comes to social marketing. However, there are activities that you will notice add to your business success and activities that don't do a thing for your business.

As an example, I found that managing all the "application requests" from FaceBook was becoming quite a chore. So, I decided that I just couldn't take the time to respond to every Christmas ornament, Starfish, etc. that I received. I had to begin to "ignore" those application requests. You'll need to make the same decisions. Remember, free marketing works. In fact, I truly believe that free marketing often works better than paid marketing. However, if you're going to optimize your free marketing plan, then make sure to implement these seven tips to help you effectively manage your time and energy.

Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | http://fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | Info@FivensonStudios.Com

Triggered Emails: A Frequently Missed Opportunity

When it comes to email marketing we often overlook some of the less-obvious touch points because we are so focused on the bigger campaigns. We compile brilliant email newsletters, to which we dedicate substantial amounts of time and energy, ensuring that the branding is exciting, consistent and aligned with the CI, while still providing relevant content. It goes without saying that we want our customer communication to be fantastic. You are however probably unaware that some of your email communication to customers is poorly structured, almost never updated and usually not tracked at all. Consider the following very important question: when was the last time you gave any serious consideration to your transactional email strategy?

We define transactional email as that which is automatically generated in response to an action. Examples of such messages are ‘thanks for subscribing' or ‘your details have been updated. Transactional email provides fantastic opportunities for you to engage with your customers again, within an environment that is totally acceptable to them. And the word fantastic doesn't overstate it. By applying a great design and accompanying the message with complementary messages -- about new products, upcoming events or special offers-- you create brand new opportunities to connect and sell. Coupled with transactional messaging, that includes tracking, you can also measure your upsell opportunities on these mediums, which could yield better results than traditional marketing mediums.

Examples of transactional email can be found everywhere. Browse a product set at Amazon.com and you will be sent an email detailing specials and other options, based on the product category you were looking at. These emails usually consist of a single line of text, in a simple, text-based email though - when you think about it, that's a massive opportunity lost!  As marketers, we're always looking for great opportunities to extend our brand. How exciting to discover that you may have many unexploited ones in your portfolio right now.

Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | http://fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | Info@FivensonStudios.Com

It’s time to save the internet — again

In 2015, the tech industry and millions of individuals fought to legally protect the Internet from fast lanes and slow lanes, guaranteeing an open, unrestricted Internet that treated all data neutrally—not favoring big business over small. Unfortunately, the FCC has changed leadership and the open Internet is now under serious attack once again. July 12th marks a “Day of Action on Net Neutrality” across the Web. If you value the spirit of the Internet that’s driven so much prosperity and freedom around the world, please join forces with Fivenson Studios to get informed and take action today.

Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T want to end net neutrality so they can charge extra fees to control what we see & do online. On July 12, we take the first step to stop them. This is a battle for the Internet's future. Before you do anything else, send a letter to the FCC & Congress now!

What Is Net Neutrality?

Net neutrality is the principle that Internet providers like Comcast & Verizon should not control what we see and do online. In 2015, startups, Internet freedom groups, and 3.7 million commenters won strong net neutrality rules from the US Federal Communication Commission (FCC). The rules prohibit Internet providers from blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization—"fast lanes" for sites that pay, and slow lanes for everyone else.

We Are Team Internet. We Support Net Neutrality, Freedom Of Speech.

Nearly everyone who understands and depends on the Internet supports net neutrality, whether they're startup founders, activists, gamers, politicians, investors, comedians, YouTube stars, or typical Internet users who just want their Internet to work as advertised—regardless of their political party. But don't take our word for it. Ask around, or watch some of these videos.

They Are Team Cable. They Want To End Net Neutrality, To Control & Tax The Internet.

Cable companies are famous for high prices and poor service. Several ranks of the most hated companies in America. Now, they're lobbying the FCC and Congress to end net neutrality. Why? It's simple: if they win the power to slow sites down, they can bully any site into paying millions to escape the "slow lane."This would amount to a tax on every sector of the American economy. Every site would cost more since they'd all have to pay big cable. Worse, it would extinguish the startups and independent voices who can't afford to pay. If we lose net neutrality, the Internet will never be the same.

 

Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | http://fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | Info@FivensonStudios.Com

How To Start Your SEO Campaign

Succeeding with search engine optimization is a function of understanding the basics. Search engine optimization consists of two different disciplines. The first is called on page optimization, what you do on your web pages to succeed, and off page optimization. By mastering both of these areas of optimization, you can have search engine success.

In order to be successful with your search engine optimization efforts long term, you should always start with on page optimization techniques. On Page, optimization refers to everything related to your actual website and web pages from a search engine optimization perspective. This includes factors like website age, URL, Meta tags, on page links, etc. It's important that you start with on page optimization because it ensures that your pages will be fully recognized by search engines.

The place to start when thinking about on-page optimization is with URLs and the overall structure of your website. The reason we want to start here is that the URL is one of the most visible aspects of a website. However, I would caution you about putting too much emphasis on the domain name as that is only part of the on-page optimization game. It definitely helps with Yahoo and MSN but not as much with Google.

Your website URL is only one of may on-page optimization factors you should be paying attention to. When I'm asked which factors are the most important to any search engine optimization effort, I usually emphasize clean code and fast load times. Search engines like Google want to make sure browsers have a good experience. If they started serving up really bad websites in the number of ranking, you wouldn't be using their search engine. Check your site for coding errors and measure how long it takes for the pages to load.

Once you've covered on page optimization attributes associated with a high ranking website, you should focus on off page optimization. Off page, optimization is really a function of how the search engines see your site and how other web pages link to your own site. Off page optimization is often equated to link building as building external links to your site is at the core of search engine optimization.

Begin your search engine optimization efforts by focusing on on-page optimization. This creates a very strong foundation that you can build on for years to come. After that foundation is set, focus on off-page optimization techniques. These tactics can vary over time but should always include some type of link building effort. As you create more inbound links, your search engine results will continually improve.

Seeking help with your SEO? Discover how to Improve Search Engine Rankings.

Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | http://fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | Info@FivensonStudios.Com

Finding More Customers

If your business is like most it could use more customers. More customers equal more revenue and profit and that's what all businesses are after. So how does a business go about finding more customers? You're probably sitting on a "goldmine" and don't even know it.

In this case, the "gold mine" is your current customer list. Of course, you could probably sell more to your current customers, but that's not the strategy I want to discuss here. Here, I want to describe how you can analyze your current customers to enable your business to easily locate NEW customers.

Here's a simple five-step plan to finding more customers:

1) Start with your own customer list. Normally you'll have lots of information including address information. This address information includes a ZIP code. The ZIP code is the key to finding more customers using this plan.

2) Once you have a ZIP code you can locate demographic data at the US Census Bureau or free. The downside of using the Census Bureau is that it is very time-consuming to find the data and put it in a useable format. Most companies purchase inexpensive demographic data that will tell you more information about your customer.

Let's say that you've obtained your demographic data and done an analysis. For example, after looking at the ZIP code demographic data for your current customers you may determine that most of them have incomes that are over $75,000 and the average age is less than 30 years old.

3) So now you have a profile of people that bought your products. You really have a profile of the people in the area they live in, but that data can now be used to find more business.

4) Now that you know your customer profile simply search your demographics database for other areas that have the same profile; incomes over $75,000 and less than 30 years old. This will lead you to many, many other ZIP codes where the profile of the people living there are the same as your customer. Bingo these are the areas you want to target.

5) Now that you know the areas you'd like to target it's a simple matter to either go through your leads list/database or even purchase contact lists for the ZIP codes you identified above. This works for direct mail and email lists as long as the email list has a ZIP Code associated with the email address.

So there you have it. Don't be put off by having to purchase demographic data. This is very inexpensive and it will pay for itself over and over. Also, keep your typical conversion rates in mind from emails and mailers. These facts and figures will help you determine how much you can reasonably pay for mail/email lists if you go that route.

 

Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | http://fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | Info@FivensonStudios.Com

4 Tips to Choose the Right Web Host for Your Online Business

When you first decide to setup an online business, there is a series of technical issues you will have to resolve. None of them, however, is as important as choosing the right web host. Unfortunately, there are two problems with this. First, most first-time online business owners have no previous experience in this field, which means they don’t know what to look for. Second, some of these features can’t be seen until you have already hired the provider in question. In order to make your life significantly easier, here are four tips for choosing the right web host provider.

1. Uptime

The first thing you need to keep in mind is that the layout of your website, the design of your CTA button and the perfect custom made video for your homepage don’t mean a thing as long as your website is down. How often is this going to happen depends on the choice of the host. Most guides advise finding someone who can provide you with at least 99.99 percent uptime, but how much is this actually? You see, the difference between 99.9 percent and 99.99 percent may not seem as something significant, but in practice, it can be completely game-changing. For instance, on a monthly basis, 99.9 percent uptime means that your website will be down for about 43 minutes and 12 seconds, while with 99.99 percent, this amounts to only 4 minutes and 19 seconds.

2. 24/7 Support

Another thing you need to keep in mind is that when you have an online business, you are expected to be up and running at any time of the day. Moreover, if one of your offers includes international shipment, some of your customers will be in different time-zones, so they will contact you in the most unlikely of hours. You see, this means that for an online business, a glitch that occurs at 4 am can be as dangerous as one occurring at 4 pm. For this reason, you need a host that can guarantee you a 24/7 support so that you can contact them as soon as you notice there is a problem (just like your customers should be able to contact you).

3. Additional Features

Aside from the uptime and support available, there are some additional features you need to look for. Seeing how your website will already cost you an arm and a leg, it might be good to look for a host that provides you with a free domain registration and unlimited disk space. Aside from this, having an unlimited number of email accounts and MySQL databases is also a huge plus. Finally, some of the top-tier web hosts even provide their clients with a free drag and drop iPage website builder, which on its own saves a small fortune, seeing how you won’t have to hire a professional designer.

4. Read Reviews

In the introduction, we mentioned that one of the greatest problems with finding the right host for your business lies in the fact that you need to close a deal with them before actually seeing them in action. Well, this is what reviews and ratings are there for. This way, you can use experiences of others in order to avoid making the same mistake they did (or to simply reinforce your decision). Keep in mind, however, that not every comment you encounter will be genuine, so give it your best to spot and avoid any review written in marketing talk. The same goes for those who are deliberately leaving bad comments. Just to be safe, make sure to gather your information from more than one source.

Conclusion

As you can see, choosing the right web host for your online business is not exactly rocket science. The uptime, customer support, and additional features are paramount, seeing how they will have a direct impact on the model of your online business. When it comes to reviews and ratings, you can consider them to be a bit less reliable word-of-mouth recommendation.

Dan Radak is a marketing professional with eleven years of experience. He is currently working with a number of companies in the field of digital marketing, closely collaborating with a couple of e-commerce companies. He is also a coauthor on several technology websites and a regular contributor to Technivorz.

Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | http://fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | Info@FivensonStudios.Com

The Power of Brand Filters

Each week frustrated business owners call me, exhausted from their latest company-naming marathon. They've spent dozens (if not hundreds) of hours invaluable staff time churning out endless lists of ideas, suggestions, brainstorms, etc.
The results?

A hodgepodge of names with no rhyme or reason to them, little or no group consensus, a lack of matching domain names, potential trademark issues, and a looming deadline of one sort or another. The group has grown increasingly wary of the whole ordeal and everyone just wants to "move on." Sound familiar?

At the root of this problem lies a lack of established "brand filters." By brand filters I mean the screening criteria that nearly everyone in the company inherently knows but that remains unarticulated. Think of it as the mental tumbler that any new idea or project must go through before someone at the company says "Yes, that's a fit for us!" An example might prove helpful.

Imagine you were on the board of directors for Rolex and one of your top salespeople came to you with a proposal to sell millions of inexpensive Rolex watches this holiday season at Wal-Mart--what would you say? What if another salesperson came to you with the idea of co-branding a Rolex interior in a new line of Lexus automobiles? Which proposal would make more sense? Why?

On one hand, you could argue that Rolex is a watch company and that selling millions of more watches is the way to go, even if it means selling them cheaply. A more astute observer would see that Rolex really isn't a watch company; it's a prestige company. The watch is just the method or means of selling the prestige. If properly understood, this subtle shift has tremendous ramifications. Instead of looking to extend your brand along product lines, you would look to extend it along attribute lines.

So in this case, the first "brand filter" for Rolex would be prestige. Any new idea, product, service, venture, brand extension, etc. would need to incorporate an element of upscale sophistication before it would be even considered. If Rolex were then to conduct a naming assignment, one of the top criteria would be the need to convey elegance, prestige, and luxury vs. needing to convey the idea of a "watch."

As obvious as this may seem, most naming assignments don't utilize branding filters to evaluate names. Without them, the names tend to gravitate towards literal descriptions and the judging of the potential new names defaults to random associations--biased personal judgments that have nothing to do with the company or its future direction. Without proper brand filters, the criteria can become quite arbitrary, such as "It's got to be one word." Or "It's got to be high in the alphabet." Or "It's got to have a hard consonant sound." These are all technical, linguistically constructed issues that should come secondary to the primary purpose of having a name that reflects who you are, based on your most compelling attributes.

In establishing your brand filters, what chief characteristics do you wish to convey in your name? Is it strength? Ease? Reliability? Status? Which ones are most important? Write a list and prioritize them. Typically the overarching attributes will be on top and the more pragmatic criteria will be lower (i.e. the length of the name, exact matching domain, etc.). Here's a typical example of an internet start-up company--Sample Branding/Naming Filters.

Conveys a sense of innovation and ingenuity.
Has an "interruptive" quality that makes the consumer want to know more
Segues easily to a background story/elevator speech about the company.
Is easy to say and spell.
Has a closely matching .com domain name.

Once you have your set of brand filters, it's much easier to ask your core group of decision makers to compare the naming candidates against the list of criteria rather than against their personal biases. The question simply becomes, "How do these potential names compare against our branding filters?" vs. "What do you think about these names?" Stay flexible with the process. If a name fits the filters but everyone hates it, then perhaps your filters need adjusting or re-prioritization. Perhaps having an easy to say the name is more important than first thought. But by having these filters, it creates a context in which to better evaluate your naming decisions.

By creating brand filters in advance of a product or company naming assignment, you can alleviate a lot of missteps and come to consensus naturally and intuitively. The naming process becomes a true process and your naming sessions become more productive. Instead of names that describe the products you sell, you'll create names that convey the essence of who you are, what you do and why you do it. And that makes for great branding.

 

Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | http://fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | Info@FivensonStudios.Com

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