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Posts Tagged ‘promotion’

Social Media Marketing: 7 steps for using contests and sweepstakes to promote your brand

August 9th, 2012 No comments

Bribe them and buy them. That was an old-school marketing technique to acquire customers when the value proposition of a product just wasn’t strong enough to pull in enough interest of its own.

Do corporate social media accounts face that challenge? While many Facebook pages and Twitter accounts offer strong value (news, humor, insider information, etc.), the average corporate account can find it challenging to develop a following without an incentive.

One incentive that works well for many marketers is a sweepstakes or contest. (While those terms are often used interchangeably, technically the winner of a sweepstakes is decided by random chance, and a contest is decided by skill and competition.)

“Some of the main benefits of a social media-based contest are fast time-to-market, immediate responses/results, low-cost and no-cost program options, and measureable ROI,” said Sandra Fathi, President, Affect. “I have yet to find an organization — business-to-business or business-to-consumer — that would not benefit from some type of online contest.”

Sandra pointed out that even the President is holding an online sweepstakes to help with fundraising efforts.

 

The goal of online sweepstakes and contests

 While online sweepstakes and contests can help boost your social media following, they can help you meet other objectives as well.

“The goals of any marketing effort should align directly with business goals – and the same holds true for social media promotions,” Sandra said. She provided some example objectives:

  • Accelerate social media adoption/participation
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Generate leads/sales
  • Drive product/service usage
  • Recognize or reward customers/prospects

However, sometimes it pays to think outside the box.

“For example, we launched the New York Intern Project as a recruiting tool that also provided ancillary benefits, such as doubling our social media following, generating media coverage and new business opportunities with clients who were interested in hosting contests of their own,” Sandra said.

Here are a few mini-case studies to help you visualize successful sweepstakes and contests, and then we’ll review seven steps for launching your own sweepstakes and contests.

Read more…

Social Media Marketing: How to ensure Facebook doesn’t tear down your wall

September 23rd, 2011 5 comments

Photo credit: Sue Ream

Like many marketers, I am not a lawyer. So when I see terms and conditions, my eyes glaze over and I shoot an email to our excellent in-house counsel.

However, if you conduct a campaign on a third-party site, you are at the mercy of their rules.

Take Facebook, for example. According to a recent whitepaper from Bulbstorm, “Run afoul of the guidelines, and your page could be shut down by Facebook at a moment’s notice … Facebook accepts reports of violations, and no one watches your page more closely than your competitors. They’d love nothing more than to see your campaign fail. So, follow the guidelines and don’t give Brand X a reason to tattle.”

But if you’re not a lawyer, following these guidelines to the letter is easier said than done. So, to help you avoid the LSAT, I grabbed Matt Simpson, Director, Interactive & Client Services at Bulbstorm, a developer of Facebook applications, and asked him a few questions that will keep you on the sunny side of Mark Zuckerberg and his team …

Read more…

Real-time Marketing: Don’t complain about the weather, put it to work

February 4th, 2011 3 comments
MarketingSherpa Snowmageddon 2011

The B.Good snowman

My blog post this week has truly been an exercise in real-time reporting. “Plan A” was to cover some of the Super Bowl marketing activities going on in Dallas this week, but then “Snowmageddon 2011″ hit late Monday night, left me iced into my driveway and knocked the media and marketing universe surrounding the Super Bowl into a brand new level of frenzy/panic/excitement — something like “frenzanicment.”

When the uniqueness of Super Bowl week marketing gets kicked up even higher with a freak weather event, the result — however interesting it might be — just isn’t going to apply to many other real-world marketing situations.

Plan B

But when that freak weather event is affecting a huge swath of the rest of the United States, and local marketers are jumping in with real-time campaigns and CRM activities such as sending messages about new store and office hours in reaction to the event, that’s something any marketer can relate to and maybe gain some insight from to use for future real-time marketing opportunities.

With that in mind, this post is “plan B” — some crowdsourced, real-time reporting on various marketing efforts taken in response to Snowmageddon.

Getting customers to your bricks and mortar location in a blizzard

  • Leyla Arsan of Lotus Marketing Services offered this interesting restaurant promotion: One of my clients, a 20,000-square-foot  restaurant in Chicago, offered a blizzard promotion. For each inch of snowfall, they offered guests that percentage off their check. For example, 20 inches = 20% off your total bill. On Wednesday night, they had over 100 guests with only a few hours to promote the special. They used email marketing, Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare to promote the special.
  • Style Masters Salon & Spa located in the greater Philadelphia area distributed emails offering 20% service discounts for same-day bookings during snow storms January 26-27. The January 26 promotion filled the appointment book within 25 minutes, while the offer on January 27 took the salon from a 20% booking rate to 52% in 45 minutes. “We couldn’t be more pleased with the results of this last-minute email campaign,” said Christina Vagnozzi, owner of Style Masters Salon & Spa. “Our clients are anxiously awaiting this next storm to see what we come up with.”
  • The Boston-based B.Good restaurant chain posted a humorous photo to their Facebook page featuring a giant snowman built at one of the locations while staff awaited customers. The photo was posted on a day when the area received more than a foot of snow. “The photo generated great buzz with ‘Likes’ on our Facebook page, and encouraged walk-ins when we ordinarily would have seen few, if any,” said Jon Olinto, Co-founder B.Good.

Use videos to tell your brand’s story

Stacey Hylen of BusinessOptimizerCoach.com sent this idea: I shot some videos outside in the blizzard with some tips to help small business owners learn how to profit from Snowmageddon and what they need to do in their business to prepare it for another one (things they can do to become more of a global business so local events won’t hurt their business as much.)

I am going to promote the heck out of the videos and also offer a Snowmageddon special through my newsletter and through social media sites.

Real-time email marketing — be proactive

Rick Delashmit of FruitMyCube.com in Belleville, Illinois: We had to delay some of our scheduled FruitMyCube deliveries this week due to the weather. We notified several hundred customers of the order delay/cancellation with this email.

Then today (Wednesday), as we opened up ordering for next week, we announced that we would be including one of our hand-dipped Chocolate Covered Strawberries in each Cube as a thank you for their patience through the “Snowpocalypse”. Then come Valentine’s week, we’ll tie all this together by allowing our customers to add a Gift Box of the berries to their FruitMyCube order. Here’s the email that announced the free chocolate covered strawberry.

Cold calling in freezing weather

Jenny Vance, President LeadJen: As an outsourced Lead generation company, LeadJen is conscious about using client billable time when we will see the highest connections and also highest conversions. Typically, those two things have a 1:1 relationship. If you have more connections/conversations, you have more conversions.

However, we have found that a winter event is much like the holidays because while the ability to connect is greatly reduced, the quality of the connections is much higher. This is because we have an easy way to personalize the message and a universal conversation topic—weather!

The people that are in the office are also not as inundated with requests and interruptions, so the cold call is less of a bother. In order to maximize the conversation topic, we include reference to weather in our voicemails, live dialogues and also email content.

We’ve found that it greatly improves our inbound response to those messages. At the end of the day, we estimate that instead of a 1:1 relationship between connections to conversions, we see a 1:2 relationship. It so critical that during winter emergencies that have the potential to cripple results, LeadJen has been able to stabilize and sometimes improve project performance.

Real-time marketing is nimble marketing

“The great news about today’s marketing tools is that they allow marketers to be really nimble and react to circumstances, like the recent spate of snowstorms, in real time,” said Eric Groves, Senior Vice President, Strategy, Corporate Development and Innovation Constant Contact. “Simply using the ‘excuse’ of the snow as a reason to reach out and share a compelling promotion not only helps maintain sales during what might otherwise be a bit of a slump, but also strengthens relationships with customers by rewarding loyalty.”

All marketers know to tailor campaigns and offers to events like Valentine’s Day or St. Patrick’s Day, but the nimble marketer will also react to events such as weather or breaking news to take advantage of publicity and promotional opportunities. It doesn’t have to be a freak snowstorm rampaging across most of the country, although there’s a lot to work with, as seen above, to get into the world of real-time marketing. You just have to find the opportunity in the news, events, announcements — and yes, even weather — that happen every day.

Related resources

Constant Contact, used by Style Masters Salon & Spa, B.Good and FruitMyCube.com for their online marketing campaigns

Lotus Marketing Services

Real-Time Marketing: David Meerman Scott at MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2011

Riding a real time Amazon announcement to reach an influential journalist

Email Marketing: Why should I help you?

Liable for Bloggers’ Claims

October 7th, 2009 1 comment

The Federal Trade Commission on Monday published the final version of its Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. These new rules will govern how companies can use consumer, expert and organizational endorsements to make claims about products.

There are many important updates, which become effective Dec. 1. MarketingSherpa is working on an article describing the changes that marketers need to know. In the meantime, I want to point out one change that should concern anyone who sends free products to bloggers to generate buzz.

If a blogger writes a positive review of a product that you sent free-of-charge, that post may be considered an “endorsement.” It depends on the value of the product and whether the blogger routinely receives such requests.

“If the blogger frequently receives products from manufacturers because he or she is known to have wide readership within a particular demographic group…the blogger’s statements are likely to be deemed to be ‘endorsements,’” according to the guidelines.

“Similarly, consumers who join word-of-mouth marketing programs that periodically provide them products to review publicly (as opposed to simply giving feedback to the advertiser) will also likely be viewed as giving sponsored messages.”

Now here’s the kicker: if the post is deemed an “endorsement” and the blogger writes false claims into the review, the blogger and the advertiser are liable for the misleading statements.

So if you, a phone manufacturer, send a free phone to a popular tech blogger who writes a positive review that the phone also makes a fantastic life raft — you are liable for that claim.

The guidelines suggest that advertisers who send free products to bloggers (directly or through a service) make sure that they provide guidance to ensure that the bloggers’ statements are truthful and substantiated.

“The advertiser should also monitor bloggers who are being paid to promote its products and take steps necessary to halt the continued publication of deceptive representations when they are discovered,” according to the guidelines.

So if you are sending out free products to bloggers, your job might be more difficult after Dec. 1. Stay tuned for more info as MarketingSherpa digs into the details.

Entice with Incentives to Drive Traffic to Website

December 10th, 2008 No comments

Most of you know that one way to drive people to a website is by putting the address on everything that might get in front of the eyes of potential customers.

I’d like to provide another suggestion: Give people an incentive to actually go to the website.

If you’re a college or university trying to increase admissions, for example, try including an MP3 card in direct mailings. You could have whatever message or logo you want printed onto the card, which looks like a credit card.

It could say visit our site to receive one free MP3 music download. That gets your target audience through the gates, so to speak. Hopefully they will look around the site while waiting for the song to download.

“This has been incredibly useful for private schools and colleges,” says Fred Snyder, VP of Sales, Eastern Region, for Geiger, one of the oldest and largest privately held promotional products companies in the world.

Snyder provided some background information for a Sherpa report on how to maximize the ROI of promotional products in a tough economy. He also provided this tip!