Posts Tagged ‘internet marketing’

Best Newsletter Content

March 1, 2010

The main focus of your content should be newsworthy information. If your email is just one big ad, customers will recognize it as such and avoid it like the plague!  By providing good content, you will keep the customers coming back and begin building those all-important ongoing relationships. Here are some suggestions for determining content:

• What are the top five questions that customers or members ask you?

• Who are some interesting customers, members, volunteers or employees?

• What problems are your customers facing?

• What information do you have that would help your customers and members see you as an expert?

• Have you been to any trade shows or conferences lately?

• Have any customers said nice things about you lately?

• What is something new or important that your current customers would benefit from hearing?

For more a more detailed explanation of this list, download a complete Newsletter Best Practices Guide Here.


Getting the most out of your Newsletters

March 1, 2010

Newsletters are a great way to reach out to your clients and prospects. They help you stay in touch and build relationships while providing useful information that will encourage recipients to look around your website and, better yet, give you a call. However, most inboxes today are flooded with “newsletters” and many people overlook them without even reading or they are caught by a Spam filter. So you’re wondering how to get past these obstacles? We’ve put together a checklist for Newsletter Best Practices so you see results from your email marketing campaigns.

• Call it something other than newsletter

• Reference everyone in your target audience

• Link to the best landing page on your website to address their interests or concerns

• Distribute emails in the middle of the week and late morning to early afternoon

• Include Your Privacy Policy

• Be Sure To Include An “Unsubscribe” Link

• Stay Away From Words That Set Off Spam Filters

• Include case studies, “how-to” article or tips, or a column by a guest writer

• Keep it to three to five concise articles

• Provide archived copies on your web site

• Provide contact information on the newsletter

• Call special attention to your current promotion or theme

For more a more detailed explanation of this list, download a complete Newsletter Best Practices Guide Here.

What does Apple’s iPad mean for Richmond businesses?

February 1, 2010

You’ve heard plenty of hype about Apple’s iPad and dismissed its direct impact on your Richmond-based business. You shouldn’t., not if you want to stay competitive.

Many people are viewing this new “giant iTouch” or “bigger iPhone” as a consumer device they’ll leave on their coffee table. Business people are looking at the iPad and wondering “how would one of my employees actually benefit from it?” That’s one way of seeing the value and where this is going, but you’d be missing the Big Picture if you stopped there.

All the new phones, iPhone and Droid and Google phone, are important because they are always connected to the Internet and they run “apps”. Consumers and business people are adopting and embracing and relying on these new platforms as tiny little web browsers and pocket-sized devices that run very easy, tiny applications. The new iPad and the “slate” or “tablet” computer that Google releases in response are the second wave of these new “app” platforms and they can be critical to bringing in new business for you.

For very little money and nearly no time at all, you can create an “app” that runs on these platforms, is available in Apple’s iTunes or Google’s app store, and promoted on your website, YouTube and Facebook. If you make a fun, interesting or useful “app”, you can dramatically increase awareness of your business and bring more prospects to your website.

Here are a few examples of local Richmond businesses and what is possible with the iPad, iPhone and Google-powered Droid. Imagine how you would reach your audience with something similar.

Home Media makes home theater as beautiful as your home

Home theater, music and security

Home Media works with architects, interior designers and home owners to embed the latest music and home theater equipment seamlessly into the very walls of your house. Ray Lepper’s design team knows how to make the mass-produced 50-inch LED TV and 20 individual boxy speakers blend right into your walls and wall switches and become part of your environment rather than stick out from it.

A simple “app” Home Media could create would be one that lets home owners snap a digital photo of their living room with the iPad and then choose from Ray’s catalog of the latest giant flat-screen TVs to swap out over the fireplace until they found the right one. Then they could pick the rooms of the house where the all-home music system would pipe CDs, downloaded iTunes and MP3s, HD and satellite radio to. With an iPad, these pictures would be large enough to help home owners to add some visuals to their dreams, all with the help of Richmond’s Home Media.

For the architects who are designing new dreams and the interior designers who are fitting technology into those dreams, an app Home Media could provide would list the available solutions and specs. Armed with a picture of each style of in-ceiling projector and projection screen, an architect or interior designer could show their clients what was possible, flip instantly to a page of specs to help the architect, and know Ray Lepper’s install and programming team can make every one of those solutions integrate into the home and provide ease of use to the occupants.

Buckingham Greenery makes your workplace a better place with live green plants

Making your office building more Green

Connie Hom has been making commercial interiors and building more green and giving their employees and tenants a more healthy environment for decades. Her Buckingham Greenery provides beautiful live plants to apartment buildings, office buildings, and commercial campuses like malls and executive headquarters. Adding the right kind of plants in the right places not only improves employee morale and customer perception, it makes the air healthier and cleaner.

For the employees of a building smart enough to use Buckingham Greenery’s services, an app that would help employees and occupants understand the benefits could be as simple as a “how healthy can you make it” game. You’d download the Be Green game to your Droid, walk through each halls and office, and pick out which plants are where. The game would give you a score on how healthy the air has become from the plants as well as a score as to how happy the employees are based on the visual appeal and greenness. Doing better than the average for Richmond businesses gives you a high score and many smiling employee faces. A low score means your office isn’t doing as much as it should compared to other businesses and competitors in Tidewater, Charlottesville or Roanoke. The game would make suggestions and allow you to try out new combinations of plants, selected by what improvements they make, and then tell you the new score.

Beyond just making a fun app designed to increase awareness of the benefits of live plants in the office place, Buckingham Greenery could deliver real value to building managers and facilities managers with an app that created service requests right on their phone. Instead of taking a lot of precious time, writing down a the location of a problem with a plant, walking back to their office and placing a call or sending an email to an unresponsive vendor, a busy property manager could snap a photo with their phone and start up Connie Hom’s service request app. Submitting a picture of the problem, clicking on what kind of attention is needed, and sending that new service request instantly would be the purpose of this new iPhone app. Tell a facilities manager you can save them twenty minutes and know for certain the issue was logged in and tracked and a response was on it’s way and you’ll have one happy customer.

Keeping Richmond employees happy with good coffee and vending

How many times have you heard an employee joke “can’t work any more today, we’re out of coffee”? Or someone complaining forever about “the vending machine stole my money”? Customers who have vending machines stocked by Halloran’s Refreshment Services or coffee brewers and services by Scott Halloran’s local Richmond business don’t suffer from this problem because they deliver the best service. But think of how much more their business itself would be known if they employed simple apps on iPhones, Google Android phones or the Apple iPad?

Instead of complaining to the over-worked office manager or filling out a tiny post card with “the Coke machine is out of Diet again” or “the cheese crackers are stuck in the snack machine”, Halloran’s customers could just pull out their Droid cell phone, start up the Halloran’s quick response app, scan the vending machine’s front ID label, and select “out of product” or “snack slot stuck” and tap “submit”. Seconds later Halloran’s customer service department would know there was a problem, know what to do about it, schedule a visit, and notify both the employee and the office manager that action was being taken.

Keeping customers happy with excellent coffee and service is Halloran's goal

For those offices where they know premium coffee keeps employees happy and have asked Halloran’s to install a Keurig K-cup cup-at-a-time coffee brewer, the employees can look up each of the Green Mountain coffees and decide which appeals to them the most. Scott Halloran’s coffee service team sets up a rack of up to eight different flavors or blends of coffee so every employee can select their own favorite. The app would tell which blends are dark, which are light, how the tastes vary which beans are used in each. Armed with this extra information, the employee can sample and choose to meet their immediate desires. Or press the “we’ve run out of espresso roast… help!” button. Pressing the Comment button and telling Halloran’s why they picked the Newman’s Special Roast and why they liked it so much would post that “vote” directly on the Halloran’s fan page on Facebook, recognizing the employee and employer and entering them in Halloran’s monthly coffee contest.

Don’t ignore the iPad and its kin

The “platform” of the Internet-connected portable app-playing device is here already. Apple and Google will be competing mightily and we all will benefit from lower prices and greater functionality. Business owners who recognize this new direction, this new way of being seen and attracting attention, and take advantage of it early will gain much more than their slower moving counterparts.

Got a great idea? We want to hear it!

Got an idea how your business could use the iPad or deploy a tool for customers on the Droid? Let us know and we’ll include it in our next blog on the new Internet platform.

So, you should take some time to understand the platform a bit more, brainstorm with your marketing team on what kind of value you could deliver on an iPad or a Droid phone, and use these ideas during your next marketing strategy session. A could of “what ifs” might well give you an inexpensive, new way to be seen as the exciting, capable and “right” vendor for customers and new prospects. If you need help figuring out how to leverage technology like this and your website and Facebook and everything else, just send us an email or give AdLinea a call.

Is My Website Working?

January 27, 2010

Does your receptionist answer “Gee, I don’t really know” when a caller asks “what does your company do” or when they ask “is your product right for me”? Of course not! You’d retrain or fire them if they did. Can you say the same about your website, though?

Many businesses are realizing the Internet is quickly becoming the de facto way prospects locate their products and services. Your website should be the core of your Internet marketing strategy, but often it is poorly designed or money has been wasted making it look pretty rather than being effective.

At a recent business conference here in Richmond, I heard five different CEOs and business owners state they needed to redesign their websites because they were missing out on Google searches or social media or they needed it to bring in sales. However many of these business owners were talking about how to make the website look better rather than bring in leads better.

AdLinea is a marketing strategy company, not a web design firm, so we’re very focused on making the website into the cornerstone of a marketing plan. While it is important to look professional and to match the image of your company with the visual appeal of the website, we are more interested in how the website identifies with your target market, delivers your message while speaking in audience-specific terms, and providing the support your social media and email campaigns need to bring more leads to your sales team.

We have developed a simple tool for helping you understand if your website is working for you, if it is bringing in leads and supporting your marketing. AdLinea’s Website Effectiveness Tool gives you a number of questions to answer like:

  • Does your website have valuable tools, like a checklist or whitepaper or guide that visitors can read or download?
  • Do important keywords appear in the URL of your landing pages?
  • Do traditional marketing materials point to the website?

You can answer these questions on your own and see how well your website is doing the job it should be doing. If you find it isn’t doing a great job yet, don’t jump right to redesigning your website. Instead, come back next week and learn the things you should expect a website to do. Know what the goals are before committing to a redesign that still doesn’t become your best lead generator.

Website Effectiveness Test

Get the Website Effectiveness Tool here

Take a look at our Website Effectiveness Tool, rate your site using the instructions provided, and check back with us in next week’s blog to take the first steps towards making your website work for you, not just be a pretty advertisement no one ever sees.