Archive for the ‘social media’ Category

Are you spending real money on virtual social games?

November 30, 2010

I just heard of a new partnership between American Express and Zynga, the company who builds and runs such Social Games like FarmVille.  What do these two have to do with one another you may ask?  Well, American Express is now offering member rewards points to let users pay for virtual currency and goods. (Read the article on Mashable) So, all those years we have been saving up credit card rewards to spend on tangible goods such as airline miles and other retail products, we are now going to spend, spend, spend to receive points towards intangible goods like virtual food for your virtual pig on your virtual farm.   

Working in Social Media, I have a good grasp on the benefits of Facebook, Twitter and the like, for businesses of all shapes and sizes.  I even understand the enjoyment one may get out of playing games like FarmVille (even though I do not play them myself).  However, what really blows my mind is that people will spend their actual hard-earned money to feed Betsy, their virtual cow, or to build a bigger and better farm for their virtual horses and chickens to run around.   In an August 2010 article by Mashable, they reported in 2009, an estimated $2.2 billion in virtual goods were sold to consumers globally, and that number is expected to rocket to over $6 billion by 2013. That’s a LOT of zeros.

Ok, so I know that Social Media sites like Facebook need to make money, and from what they say, advertisements just aren’t cutting it.  But what really makes me concerned, is we (individuals, America, the World) have WAY over $2.2 billion in debt, over and over and over again; we are engaged in war; we are fighting poverty in every town and city in all corners of the world, including our own here in the States; we are unemployed; and we are sitting at home, spending what’s left of our money on virtual games.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the value of entertainment and I know gaming systems have been around for years, but somehow this just takes it to the next level for me!  You aren’t just buying a game once and playing it over and over again.  You are spending money daily to support your virtual gaming habits.  It almost ranks up there with spending money daily on a bad gambling habit doesn’t it?

I’d love to hear your opinion.  Do you play FarmVille or other similar games?  Do you spend money on them?  What do you feel you get out of it?  Do you ever feel guilty for spending money or do you find it’s just another form of entertainment?

Written by Ashley Loftin, Marketing Specialist at AdLinea, LLC


Don’t forget your customers and they’ll buy more from you

July 7, 2010

The next time you ask “how can I bring in more business?” don’t forget your existing customers. It’s faster and cheaper to sell more to existing and prior customers than it is to convince new prospects they should buy from you. You should be marketing to those who already like your products or services, so what’s the best way unlock this significant source of revenue? Read more…

They already love you, so stay on their mind

Every day clients ask us to figure out how to reach new prospects with their amazing, incredible, valuable product. Bringing in new customer leads is a huge part of what any marketing company can do for you, but we have to remind our clients not to forget their already-sold-to market of existing customers. These are the people who already love your amazing product, the outstanding service, and incredible value, but that aren’t necessarily thinking about you every day. They should be, though. They’d buy more if you were on their minds more often.

Remind them often

Customers decide to purchase products and services over a long period of time. That vendor selection process can be quite harrowing for your sales people, but once the customer has decided to buy it is very likely they will buy again. You just have to remind them what you do for them and what you can do for them on a regular basis.

Why do they love you? Let them count the ways….

If your product has reduced their costs or effort and made them more profitable, even this awesome savings will become rote and commonplace after a few months. You’ll have to remind them how you delivered that efficiency or savings so they open up and look to you, a trustworthy vendor, for more.

When you deliver outstanding service in one area and the customer gets used to things being that easy or that great, they tend to forget what it was like without you or take for granted what you do for them. It’s important for them to recognize, often, the great job you’re doing or the extra capability you give them.

I never knew you could do that

It’s not just about reminding them what you already do, either.  Most customers don’t know all of what you can do or they forget half the things you product can do after they finish training. No one expect a customer to read all the directions or all the chapters in the manual, so it should come as no surprise to you when you discover the customer isn’t using your product to its full potential. You have to keep your company and what you deliver in their minds to stay in place and to increase revenue from existing customers.

Keep your competitors away from the hen house

Finally, regular communication about what you do for them and for others prevents attrition.  If your customer doesn’t know your product also does X, Y and Z, they might just switch vendors when your competitor pitches their equivalent product. The customer might switch to an inferior product just because they don’t know or don’t remember you do that, too.

How to keep customers buying and increase their spending

You have to communicate your value to customers regularly, often, across several channels and up and down the influence ladder. That means you need a campaign, even if it’s a simple one, to reach your customers. Here’s how:

  • Keep your mailing list, even when a prospect becomes a customer
  • Separate the mailing list into “prospects” and “customers”
  • Query the new customers on who all will use your product or be influenced by it. Add all of these names to your mailing list.

The receptionist or the office manager is the one who selects a coffee service vendor and signs the contract, but all the workers in the office and the warehouse drink the coffee and would love to know there is a new Trolley Coffee flavor to try. And the boss and the salespeople will want to know you can now deliver cup-at-a-time coffee for better image and special visitors. Keep all these influencers on the mailing list so they can convince your point of contact to stay with you and to buy new products.

  • Every week gather the news about new products, the latest customer service home runs and how the just-signed new customers will use your product and put all this news in one spot. Like a Word document on the file server under “on-going marketing”.  Make sure you include any promotions or sales in this “marketing news” document.
  • Pick the slowest day of the week and post one or two of these news bits on your Twitter account and your Facebook page. Post the customer-centric and new product announcements on the local business blog or magazine’s Facebook page.
  • Pick a day of the month to dedicate to getting new sales from existing customers and set aside an hour that day to gather the best of tidbits in your marketing news document into a Constant Contact template. Select your “existing customers” mailing list and press the “Send” button.

Read More About Newsletter Best Practices

Keep your customers engaged and the register ringing

It’s as easy as that. If you’ve done a good job, your customers will start to comment on the newsletter. If you use a marketing company like us, the customers will start visiting your website more often due to all the links we’ve embedded in these posts and the newsletter articles. Comments mean the customer is reading your news. They’ll think it’s interesting, even if you see it as “typical, boring business stuff.” Include a contest or a quiz or something fun and your customers will start lo0oking forward those Facebook posts and monthly newsletter.

You’ll be on their mind more. They’ll know more about what you do now for them and what more you can do for them. All from a trustworthy, known vendor. That’s what will unlock more business from your existing customers.

Doug Lucy is the president of AdLinea, an Internet marketing strategy company in Richmond, VA.

Facebook fan page confusion

April 22, 2010

Yet more changes from Facebook… now it’s Community Pages versus Fan Pages. What should a small business choose when employing social media? No worries; we’re here to help understand the difference between  Fan pages on Facebook and the new Community pages.

Right after Facebook changed the way you connect with a page from “Become a Fan” to just “Like this page”, they announced a new kind of page. This new Community page is designed to serve a very specific purpose. Facebook is telling users “the owners of an entity should create Fan pages for that entity” and “people who are interested in a topic or an entity but do not own it should create a Community page.”

That boils down to businesses creating Fan pages for their company, product or brand and individuals creating Community pages to talk about certain topics or interests. It seems Facebook is pulling back from the general public being able to create a “Richmond Flying Squirrels” fan page and leaving that up to the actual owner of that entity. Consumers and the public can still create a page to discuss “Richmond Flying Squirrels”, but it can’t be a Fan page; it has to be a Community page since the it wasn’t created by the owner.

Facebook is certainly aiming to reduce the number of Fan pages that aren’t actually representing the companies behind those products and services. As Facebook connects to more brands on more websites via the extended Like plan they unveiled at the F8 conference, it will be more and more important for them to restrict who can create a Like-able page that isn’t the real owner.

So, if you are a small business and you want to create a Facebook page to assist in branding, to be your cornerstone in reaching your audience via social media, and to provide a place for your customers to talk to you, you should still be creating a Fan page for your company. We have guides for creating Facebook Fan pages for business on the AdLinea website. For individuals, you’re limited to Community pages and Group pages.