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studio1c QR codeTechnology Bridging the Online and Offline World: Customers Get the Best of Both Worlds

Connecting the Internet with [offline] printed collateral is on the minds of marketers all over the world. With the advent of tools like QR codes and SMS technology, marketers are in a perfect position to reach out to their offline audience. We've heard that everyone was moving to the Internet a few years ago and now to mobile. Smartphone technology lets customers use rich media for a range of purposes by accessing the Internet via their phone. It’s not uncommon to spot two-dimensional barcodes on flyers, posters, products, etc. These are known as Quick Response or QR codes and can be easily scanned by a free barcode scanner available on most smartphones. SMS coupons are passe too, marketers have now integrated point-of-sale systems and other methods such as “Text STUDIO1C to 22828 from your cell phone to sign up for our enewsletter” (try and see how it works!).

Usage of QR Codes for Marketing
QR codes are being used extensively by marketers to help customers who are looking for more information about a product or service. By reducing additional cumbersome or time-consuming manual input of a URL, this technology has provided savvy marketers with a simplier solution to connect with new customers. Used in business cards, conference displays, postcards and brochures, the encoded information can help the customers send an email, dial a number, download contact details or view more details on a new or special offer. To give you an example, imagine you are walking down a street and find details of a new movie advertised on a billboard. The QR code on the billboard can take you a web page to buy tickets instantly. It’s not just the entertainment industry, just about any type of organization can use QR codes for marketing including nonprofits, retail business, educational institutions etc. Apart from being user friendly, these codes are cost-effective and environmentally friendly too.

Text to Subscribe Services
If you are looking for options to have your customers respond to advertisements and promotions when they are away from their computer, you can provide them the option to subscribe to your SMS with a text message. You can include offer details or vouchers in these messages, for example “Text SHOP to ****” and offer New Services, Happy Hour Specials, Help Wanted, or any other announcement. It helps you achieve the highest ROI by combining powerful web-based self-service campaign management tools and experience of a trained personnel.

QR codes, text to subscribe and Facebook links on print media and other offline efforts are poised to make it to the mainstream, they have already become a staple in every savvy marketers arsenal. Have you used any of these in your marketing efforts?

phychology of buyersUnderstanding the needs and preferences of your buyers is the first step towards closing a successful sale. However, you can persuade your customers – both existing and potential, to buy more from you by making use of some psychology data, which are as follows:

Breaking “action paralysis”: Most buyers don’t take any action unless they are prodded or encouraged to set foot outside their comfort zone of inaction. For example, reminding your customers how easy it is to get started with your services (one month free trial, a discounted price for the first 20 customers etc) can break their action paralysis and encourage them to act in your favor.

Tapping into the 3 types of buyers: Several research results have shown that there exists mainly 3 types of buyers namely spendthrifts, average buyers, and tightwads. While spendthrifts make a mere 15% of the total buyer segment, tightwads account for 24%, and the average buyers for 61%. You should position your offerings differently for these segments. For example, while an average buyer with an eye on long term savings may get encouraged by a product that costs $100/month, a tightwad may think about buying only when you reframe the product value as less than $4 a day. So, even when you are marketing the same product/service, remember to fine tune your campaigns depending on the type of targeted buyers. 

Accept shortcomings: Rather than blaming external sources for failures, you should accept your shortcomings and stress on your success stories. Buyers prefer to trust companies that admit their failures as it shows how serious the company is in fixing the shortcomings.

Play on the sense of instant gratification: To appeal to your customers in a better way, highlight how your offerings can give them a fast solution to their problems. Focusing on fast shipping, quick delivery, and other methods of instant gratification will give your customers the right incentive to buy from you.

Promote values and build a brand name: Customers identify with brands that are driven by uncompromising values. Be it donating a sum to the charities, clothes to the poor during Christmas, and similar acts of kindness, or being driven by honesty, make sure to strike a chord with your customers and once they find how the values they hold dear are what drive your business, they will convert into your loyal clientele.

So, use these research findings to bring more customers to your business.

paid adsIf you are considering giving a boost to your PPC advertising campaign, chances are that Google Ads already included in your to-do list. However, Google Ads can be a double-edged sword – it can either bring profits your way or bring heavy losses and erode a sizable portion of your advertising dollar investment. So, before you jump into Google Ads, be sure to weigh in on all aspects:

Pros

Worldwide recognition with Google: Perhaps all of us know that Google is the leading search engine where people come to get their queries answered or check out products and services that they intend to use in the future. Using Google Ads will give you the chance to be seen on SERPs (search engine results pages) for Google search queries. This is surely a great way to maximize your exposure and increase your chances for visibility in the competitive world.

Quick to set and easy to change: You can set up your Google Ads account within a few minutes and start using it to give leverage to your business. What’s more important is that you can easily change your targeted keywords or adjust your ads setting for free based on how your customers’ behavioral trends change with time.

Track performance: Thanks to the availability of Google Analytics at your fingertips for free, you can track how well your ads are doing and make necessary adjustments, as and when the need arises.

Cons

Everything isn’t perfect when it comes to using Google Ads. Just take a look at the points mentioned below to understand the level of pitfalls:

Steep learning curve: You will need a good sum of money and lot of time to understand how AdWords can help your business. Though there are many self proclaiming tutorials and help books that promise to teach you everything, the real scenario is different. Unless you get into the field and learn mostly by trial and error method, you can’t become an Google Ads expert. The entire process is bound to be a costly experience.

Limitations: Google Ads alone can’t help your business. You have to devise an overall advertising strategy that includes other tools and methods like organic search engine campaigns, email and video marketing, etc along with Google Ad to get results. With 70 characters of copy space available, you would also need to select your words carefully to make the maximum impact with your Google Ads campaign. Another disadvantage is that people often ignore the advertisements at the top and right-hand side of the search engine results page as they know them to be advertisements. So, the odds of getting them to click on the links is difficult.

Click fraud: A major problem with Google Ads is click fraud, where fraudulent websites are setup and use software "hitbots" or employ low-wage employees from other countries to clicks on ads, and then collect the commission from these pay-per-click programs. So, click fraud hurts advertisers and deplete their pay-per-click account, thus leaving them with little or nothing to show for the expenditure incurred.

sm4Is your blog generating leads yet? If not, then you need to use social media to generate leads. How can you use social media to attract prospects to your business? Assuming you’re offering a quality services or product, a convincing offer, and are talking to the right customer, social media tools make generating leads easy on the pocket and time-efficient.

Twitter as a Lead Generation Tool
Having thousands of followers and a database of millions is only valuable if you can continue to build value into the relationships in order to, at some point, have some financial exchange with that lead (either directly or indirectly). Remember leads are people, not just names. The first strategy is to schedule tweets for times that many people read Twitter, usually on weekdays. You can use tools like Hootsuite to do the actual scheduling. Second, send out a promotional tweet every day, but with an altered text. Different people respond to different call-to-actions. If you want to reach people who don’t follow you, include relevant keywords or hashtags. Experienced Twitter users will search for those terms.

Join LinkedIn Communities to Get Noticed
Social media is organized around common interests. As an individual you can connect with professional contacts on LinkedIn. If you want to influence these online communities for your business, you need to be a valued community member too. The easiest way to become valued is to present some new insight. Update your LinkedIn status frequently. These status updates are shown on your profile and emailed to everyone in your network. To reach new people, post your message in LinkedIn Groups. Ask questions to seek feedback on your content; don’t forget to include a link to the registration page. Link your profile to your website, blog and feed. Incorporate the linked in tool that displays your feed on your profile as well. And if you’re answering other questions, use an autograph that promotes your brand. LinkedIn works two ways for lead generation. It helps you find out what is interesting for your audience and to promote your offers.

Blogging
Regularly updating your blog will interest possible clients. You’ll expand your readership by publishing articles regularly, and by having a common theme in all the posts. Once you have a loyal audience, write a blog post about your new content, with a link to the registration page. This call to action does magic for lead generation. You will get lots of registrations from your blog readers.

Create a Facebook Application to Promote Your Brand
The Facebook market is particularly valuable for those businesses that sell material products. If you run an ecommerce store, you can promote your items for free giving you greater exposure and potentially improving your sales figures and profit levels. By creating a Facebook application you promote your business in several ways. First, other users will be more inclined to add you as a friend if your application is useful. They may also send details of your application to their own network – this style of viral marketing can generate a lot of interest for very little money. Users will remember your name, the name of your service, and they will instinctively know how to find you.

Also, add links to your website and blog on your home page profile under your photo as well as on your information page. Setup the RSS Feed feature to display your feed on your profile. This will auto display on everyone’s news feed!

Social media is an effective way to generate leads for your service-based business. You can build your standing within your industry, connect with potential customers and planned partners and use it to drive traffic to your website.

 

3 Ways Social Media Helps Generate Leads

By Building your Reputation
Participating in social media – through online networking, blogging and rich media – can help you build your reputation within your industry. Building your reputation online has three great benefits – your credibility goes up, people perceive your business to be successful and a level of trust is established.

By Building Relationships
Social networking online allows you to build solid relationships that can result in lead generation for your business. Talking to people in complimentary industries, helping them with client enquiries can help you build a strategic partnership. Building relationships with individuals and proving them with information they need could return media opportunities to promote your business.

Must Do’s to Attract Visitors
There’s a variety of ways to use social networking to attract visitors to your website.

Use social networks to distribute your content by posting a link to your Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube or your blog profile and adding content distribution buttons to your web page (e.g. Tweetmeme, Digg and RSS). The first step here is to create content worth distributing – if it’s not good, no one will want to pass it on to their network.

Create a landing page for your social media profiles. People will click on your website link in your profile to find out more information about you. Make the most of their interest with a dedicated landing page that explains what you do how you can help that person and provide a call to action detailing what they should do next.