Meshwork Consulting

Tune In To Social Media Yak On KIDO 580 AM

Whether or not you’re an AM radio listener in Boise and the surrounding Treasure Valley, tune in for the premiere of Social Media Yak, on KIDO AM 580, Sat., Feb. 18 at 7:30 a.m. I’m honored to be Martin Johncox’s guest for the Social Media Yack’s first episode. We’ll talk about my work with businesses around the nation and how I help them get the most out of social media tools, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and others. And for the Facebook Agitation Report segment, I’ll provide some advice on Facebook’s new Timeline feature.

Social Media Yak premieres at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, Feb 18 on KIDO AM 580, which broadcasts to Boise and the surrounding Treasure Valley. Read more. Or follow Social Media Yak on Facebook and Twitter.

Low-cost Ways to Effectively and Efficiently Reach Prospects–Part 5 of 7

As a small business, marketing can be overwhelming, time-consuming and expensive. By understanding some of the free and low-cost lead-generation tools and tactics, you can start to effectively and efficiently reach prospects.

QR Codes

Quick Response (QR) codes are gaining in popularity as mobile marketing gains momentum. According to the results of a February 2011 MGH survey, QR codes are mostly used to get coupons/deals, access additional information, enter a sweepstakes, sign up to receive more information, access video, make a purchase and interact with social networks.

To get your own set of QR codes, subscribe to a fee service like ScanLife to access dynamic codes and manage the destination of each code, even after you’ve printed it on a poster or product. If you don’t have a budget and aren’t looking for dynamic QR codes, head to Google’s URL shortener, plug in your destination URL and click on Shorten. Click on Details and you’ll see your new QR code, as well as some basic analytics.

Low-cost Ways to Effectively and Efficiently Reach Prospects–Part 4 of 7

As a small business, marketing can be overwhelming, time-consuming and expensive. By understanding some of the free and low-cost lead-generation tools and tactics, you can start to effectively and efficiently reach prospects.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is a great way to keep your business top of mind with your current customers and prospective customers. When your readers forward information to one of their contacts, it further expands your prospect list. You can send customers monthly or quarterly emails focused on IT-, industry- or business-related topics, company news, customer-only offers, surveys, referral incentives and open houses. There’s a range of free and affordable email distribution tools, so you can choose the service based on your needs.

Low-cost Ways to Effectively and Efficiently Reach Prospects–Part 3 of 7

As a small business, marketing can be overwhelming, time-consuming and expensive. By understanding some of the free and low-cost lead-generation tools and tactics, you can start to effectively and efficiently reach prospects.

Partnering

The power of partnership goes beyond referrals. It’s about focusing on what you do best and outsourcing the rest … to your partners. For example, a digital signage reseller focuses on designing, integrating and installing the solution. To help his clients with the content delivery, he partnered with a local ad agency to create and upload graphics. He wins because the agency has another sales team out there talking about their work with a digital signage reseller. And the agency wins because he’s sending work their way and introducing them to new customers.

Low-cost Ways to Effectively and Efficiently Reach Prospects–Part 2 of 7

As a small business, marketing can be overwhelming, time-consuming and expensive. By understanding some of the free and low-cost lead-generation tools and tactics, you can start to effectively and efficiently reach prospects.

Open Houses

If you provide a tangible product or service that customers can touch or feel, consider inviting local businesses in your area to an open house. Begin by focusing on your target customers within a one-mile radius of your office (Google Maps is a good place to start.). To get new customers, one networking reseller hosted a BBQ for their open house. Their sales team called on prospective clients and personally handed each an invitation tied to a small bottle of BBQ sauce. Today, their open house is an annual and much-anticipated event.

Low-cost Ways to Effectively and Efficiently Reach Prospects–Part 1 of 7

As a small business, marketing can be overwhelming, time-consuming and expensive. By understanding some of the free and low-cost lead-generation tools and tactics, you can start to effectively and efficiently reach prospects. This, and the following articles to come over the next two months, touch on subjects such as starting with a strategy, lead generation and leveraging social networks. In writing these, I found that I had much more to say than I expected. However, your time’s valuable, so I’ve kept topics brief. Feel free to comment or ask for other topics that I didn’t cover.

Start With a Strategy

Before jumping into the tools that I’ll cover in the coming months, develop a strategy that complements your company’s goals with the following five-step approach:
  1. Identify your target prospects (e.g., decision makers in the healthcare, legal, collections or other market).
  2. Define your value proposition. Think about what sets you apart from the competition to get your prospect’s attention and solves their pain (e.g. time, quality, cost).
  3. Match your marketing strategy with the goals of your business (e.g., acquiring new customers, recognizing incremental revenue growth with existing customers).
  4. Set out realistic, measurable goals to keep you focused (e.g., sign $100K in new projects each quarter).
  5. Consider one or more of the following tools and tactics to determine how you’ll maximize your efforts. Be sure to keep your message consistent with your goals and brand.

5 Rules for Creating Powerful Calls to Action

The most crucial, business-building item on your website–the call to action, or CTA–is only a few words long, so make every word count. Customers come to your site because they are trying to solve a problem–your call-to-action needs to offer a clear and immediate solution.

By the end of this MarketingProfs Take 10, hosted by Doug Metzgar, you’ll be able to create a call to action that captures attention, makes the most of the few seconds that visitors take to scan the page, and, most importantly, gets them to do what you want them to do—whether you’re asking readers to fill out a survey, get more information, or cash in on daily deals. Learn more.

Customer Feedback Done Right at Walmart

As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts on customer feedback, companies like Delaware North have good intentions, but their internal processes betray them. Yet, a megacorp like Walmart does it right.

I wanted Martinelli’s sparkling cider, and the nearest store was Walmart. Our Boise superstore is not your quickie mart for some drive-by, last-minute shopping action. It turned out that they didn’t carry Martinelli’s and I had to go elsewhere. I later took the issue up with the store by going online and completing their feedback form.

Two weeks later, I was pleasantly surprised to receive a call from the Boise Walmart assistant manager, Cheryl, who explained that while they no longer carry Martinelli’s, they had a box or two in back and to stop by if I wanted to pick it up. Now that folks, is customer feedback done right, pure and simple.

Feedback Forms: A Lesson in Futility

As marketers and PR pros, we all know why all businesses should have a feedback mechanism in place, from an email address on a receipt to a toll-free telephone number. However, I wonder if businesses are sincere in their efforts.

For example, I was on a homeward bound flight with the family over spring break, from Ft. Lauderdale to Boise. While dashing through the airport, I grabbed a few salads from Pasha’s, a Delaware North hospitality franchise. An hour into the flight, I crack open the plastic container to find that my bulgur wheat salad was nothing more than mint and parsley leaves with dressing. For $7, I felt ripped off.

When I got back to Boise, I pulled out the receipt and sent an email detailing my experience while thanking them for offering healthy alternatives in the airport. A month went by. No response. So, I took to Twitter and they heard me! But here’s how the conversation went:

dougmetzgar: I love giving restaurant feedback? By why ask for it and then not respond/acknowledge? @delawarenorth #customerservice #800lbgorilla

delawarenorth: @dougmetzgar We do love to hear feedback & appreciate your comments! Have you tried emailing us? I can direct message you contact info?

dougmetzgar: @delawarenorth Thx for the mention. Grt to to hear ur listening! Referring to Pasha’s to-go loc. in Ft. Lauderdale International airport.

dougmetzgar: @delawarenorth I did send an email on 4/2. Want me to DM the email address I used?

delawarenorth: @dougmetzgar Yes please! (at this point I can’t DM since @delawarenorth isn’t following me, so I broadcast the email address all over the Twitterverse).

delawarenorth: @dougmetzgar Great. You can also go on our website & leave a comment. http://delawarenorth.com/contactus.aspx.

Now, this comment form is for some broad categories, especially after you realize that this company is a $2 billion operation with hundreds of businesses throughout the world. Happily, I filled out the form. That was a month ago. Call me crazy. I’m still waiting for a response acknowledging receipt.

Have you experienced a situation like mine? If so, please share.

My Secret Weapon Featured on MarketingProfs Take10

If you’ve scanned my blog, you’ve likely come across my post on listening techniques. What’s listening? It’s a great (and free) way to learn more about what people are saying online about you or your clients’ company, brand, product or key executives.

I recently produced a slidecast for a MarketingProfs Take10, which will launch next week on Tuesday, March 29, 2011. Check it out and let me know what you think, or if you think that there are other topics that should be addressed.