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Ménage à Trois: A Marketing Love Story

Social Sonar - Monday, October 08, 2012

Ménage à Trois translates to "Household of three". Here at Social Sonar, we often talk about the Virtuous Cycle, the three services that complement and feed each other seamlessly to create a cohesive marketing program and serve as the basis for all other efforts. Combining services does more than triple your reach; it has a multiplying effect.

Virtuous Cycle of Marketing

1. Blogging

Maintaining a blog is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your business. Not only does a blog educate your customers and demonstrate your expertise, it also greatly improves your search engine ranking. Every blog post increases the number of keywords and pages on your site, so search engines will rank your url more highly than other websites with less information.

Having a more highly-ranked site ensures more traffic to your blog, which leads to more people signing up for email newsletters, and more people liking your Facebook and Twitter accounts. If you run any Google AdWords campaigns, you can actually pay less and be ranked higher than less informative sites.

Blog posts also provide you with unique content to promote in your Facebook and Twitter messages, as well as your email newsletter. You can even run targeted marketing campaigns linking to specific blog posts, which are easier to set up than landing pages.

2. Social Media

Updating Facebook and Twitter pages shows customers your business is healthy, and you are keeping up with the times. Rather than expecting people to visit your website, you are meeting them where they already hang out and making it easy for them to interact with your business or check your hours.

Social media is an ideal tool to drive customers to your website when you need them to take an action. For example, you can promote your recent blog post on Facebook and Twitter. People click the link to visit your blog and spend time on your site, where you can convince them to make an appointment or call with questions.

You can even run specials on your Facebook and Twitter pages. Post a unique coupon code and send people to your website to make the purchase. You get to keep more money than if you partnered with a deal site like Groupon or Living Social.

Tell other fans on your Facebook and Twitter pages about your positive Yelp reviews, and encourage them to review you. You can even link directly to the positive review!

3. Email Marketing

Gaining the trust to receive an email address is one of the most powerful marketing relationships you can build. Make sure you always send relevant content so recipients are less likely to unsubscribe.

Blog posts are ideal for ensuring your emails are always interesting and informative. They enable you to take a "Something for Everyone" approach, as we mentioned in our blog post What Saturday Night Live Teaches Us About Email Marketing.

Facebook and Twitter are great tools to promote signing up for your email newsletters. People who sign up to receive your emails are more likely to make a purchase than someone who has only liked you on Facebook or followed you on Twitter.

This recent article from TIME states, "Forty-eight percent of consumers reported that social media posts are a great way to discover new products, brands, trends, or retailers, but less than 1% of transactions could be traced back to trackable social links... For repeat shoppers, 30% of online purchases begin with an e-mail from the retailer."

Our complete package offers everything you need for the basis of a healthy marketing program: Blogging, Social Media, and Email Marketing. Give us a call at 1-866-843-4490 or send an email to service@socialsonar.com to find out how our customized automated solution can work for your business.

Groupon's Quadruple Threat

Social Sonar - Saturday, January 07, 2012

Although some businesses are revolting against Groupon because they feel like they end up losing money and catering to someone else's clientele, Groupon continues to grow in popularity with consumers. 

Yesmail has been analyzing what it calls Groupon's quadruple threat marketing campaign.  Groupon has been using e-mail, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to deploy up to 15 campaigns per day. 

Their analysis of e-mails found that their average subject line was 42 characters.  They also rarely used their own name in the subject.

Groupon has over 350,000 Facebook likes.  Their most popular posts included questions for their fans to answer.  On average, they get 21 comments per post.

They have over 50,000 Twitter followers.  Their posts averaged only 74 characters.  They ask questions for their followers to answer here too. 

Their YouTube channel has almost two million views.  The average video length is about two and a half minutes.  Each video receives approximately 20,000 views.

Yesmail's final analysis is that Groupon doesn't actively push their deals through social media.  Quite the opposite, they use these sites to simply build their brand and connect with their followers by asking questions and posting creative and interesting content.  They suggest that others follow suit.  Ask creative questions.  Post interesting photos.  Encourage interactions and respond to your fans and followers so that a strong relationship is built. 

Do you need help with your social media plan?  Social Sonar is here to help!  Contact us HERE.



Simple Ways to Keep the Holiday Spirit

Social Sonar - Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas is literally upon us.  Here are some simple tips to keep the holiday spirit in your store to make 2012 your best year yet. 

1.     Remember to use social media sites to have a conversation with your customer. You can offer discounts and deals but you should also converse with your fans and followers. Responding to questions and comments builds a relationship and your brand.

2.     Build your empire by asking your current customers to bring their friends into the fold. You can offer discounts to those who invite their friends to your business. You can run a contest to see who can bring in the most new fans. Or you can simply ask people to suggest your business to their friends if they are happy with your customer service. However, you do it, word-of-mouth marketing is one of your best bets for building your customer base. 

3.     Offer your own deals. The jury is still out on discount websites like Groupon and Living Social. Customers, of course, love the great deals but businesses lose a lot of money, and often have few return customers. By offering your own discounts and deals through your social media profiles, website and newsletter, you are catering to your own customer-base and rewarding them for their loyalty. 

4.     Connect your brick-and-mortar store to your online profiles. You should advertise in-store which social media sites you are using. You should have links on your website, but you should also have in-store signs, which let your customers know where they can find you in the virtual world. 

5.     Encourage check-ins. Offer discounts for checking-in to your store on Facebook, Yelp, Foursquare, Gowalla or other apps that allow customers to announce to their friends that they are in your store. Facebook now groups certain posts together, so if multiple customers are checking-in, their friends on Facebook will see that your store is a popular place. 

Remember a social business is a happy business. Social Sonar wishes every a very safe and Happy Holiday Season. We look forward to entering 2012 with you and watching each and every one of your businesses grow. 


Social Sonar's Mixer at Twirly Girls!

Social Sonar - Monday, September 19, 2011
Social Sonar recently held a mixer for local business owners to discuss how social media affects them.  Twirly Girls hosted the event and we had ten business owners (and a few friends) in attendance.  The feeling in the room seemed to be somewhat uniform: With the hard times brought on by this economy, being creative and building your own business has become the only way some families can put food on their table.  We were very excited to see such innovative entrepreneurs at the mixer.

Among our attendees, we had Bel, the owner of the dance studio Twirly Girls, who has been successfully running her business for over two years.  She uses Facebook, Twitter and Meetup to keep people up-to-date on the studio's events.  Doug joined us and he owns DK Designs.  He creates the t-shirts sold at Twirly Girls.  He is not yet using social media for his business.  We also had Jenna's Jams.  Jenna jars and sells her own jams and pickles.  She manages a fan page on Facebook.  Andrew from Liquidpulp Photography, who does most of the photography for Twirly Girls, was also in attendance.  He uses Facebook and Twitter to publicize his deals.  Shelly from Shelly's Pole Studio was there and also very kindly performed a demonstration for our audience.  She also uses Facebook and Twitter for her business.  

Besides discussing the benefits to using social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, a hot topic was whether using deal websites such as Groupon or Living Social was beneficial to small businesses.  Although the sites are certainly continuing to find companies with deals to offer, it seems like many business owners are wary of the price cut they have to make in order to have access to any deal site's customer list. On one hand, offering a deal may expose your business to a whole new set of customers.  On the other hand, you are being paid a fraction of what you would normally make and there are no guarantees that any of those customers will return.

We also touched on the topic of professionals, such as doctors and attorneys, using social media.  As it gains popularity, having some kind of presence on social media websites is becoming almost mandatory.  We discussed some of our success stories, and how you can build followers on Twitter or fans on Facebook. 

The members of Social Sonar really enjoyed interacting with our attendees.  Each of us have a different area of expertise, so we were able to bring a fairly vast amount of experience to the event.  We felt that these owners already understood the importance of incorporating social media into their marketing plan -- some just needed some advice on how to implement it.  Personal interactions with your customers through social media sites can make a significant difference to a customer who might be on the fence about using your service or buying your product.  

We at Social Sonar really feel like owning your own business is the American dream and we feel very fortunate to have shared our time with this group of local business owners.  If you are interested in hosting a Social Sonar mixer with other business owners in your area, please let us know. 

Protecting Your Business During Groupon Growth

Social Sonar - Saturday, August 20, 2011

Group deal websites can be a good experience for your company. They also have the capacity to create a huge headache.

Fortunately there are some things you can do to ensure things work out well for you and your new customers:

  • Make sure when you sign up that you get something in writing from the deal website outlining all promised rules and conditions before you agree to go ahead with the listing. 
  • Find out if you can get a direct dial number for one single person that will be your representative within the company. If you develop a relationship with someone, you will hopefully have an easier time getting a response if you have questions or problems after your listing has gone live. 

Websites like Groupon and Living Social continue to be huge deals (no pun intended) for consumers: products and services at half the price. However, as a business owner, make sure you weigh the pros and cons before you take the "easy" money.

Top 5 Ways to Make Deal Customers Lifetime Customers

Social Sonar - Saturday, July 09, 2011

For most business owners, online deal sites offer a chance to get new visitors through the door. One of the biggest challenges of offering online group discounts like Groupon and LivingSocial is encouraging those visitors to return to your business. Since most online deal terms are not profitable to business owners, it is crucial to engage these new visitors in as many ways as possible to make the deal a success.

Here are our suggestions for a successful transition from singular to regular visits:

1. Treat Deal Customers like Regular Customers.

Girls on Cell Phones

News travels fast. You want it to be good.

Once a person enters the store with a deal in hand, the staff should take time to make their visit really personal. Deal seekers should not be treated half as well because they are only paying half price. A lot of people use online deal sites as a way of trying a store they have heard about from other sources. Even if a customer does not return, they will likely talk about your business to their friends or review it on Yelp. You want to make sure their story is a positive one.

2. Educate your staff on the details of the deal.

Every employee in your store should be well-versed in the details of the deal, so each customer gets the same deal - whether it's a week after the deal was bought, or three months. Discrepancies in terms and treatment often show up in Groupon forums, as well as Yelp reviews.

3. Get social with the deal seeker.

Encourage new visitors to sign up for Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, and/or your email newsletter. Let them know you often post other discounts and specials on these sources. This keep your company top-of-mind and may encourage them to return.

4. Give them a reason to return.

If you have a rewards program, be sure to educate your newest customer on the benefits of becoming a regular.

5. Encourage them to review you.

Even if this customer does not return, they can still bring you more business. A positive review on Yelp encourages others to visit your store, whether they have a discount or not.

Have questions? Don't hesitate to give us a call. We can help you maximize your relationship with your newest customers.

Is It Time to Get Your Groupon?

Social Sonar - Saturday, June 11, 2011

Every day I get e-mails offering me discounts on items and services... Mamapedia, Schwaggle, Yelp, Living Social, Facebook, CBS, and the biggie...GROUPON. Everyone seems to be putting together their own version of the discount group deal.

The basic premise is the company offers your service or item at a HUGE discount You are e-mailed to their entire mailing list and (hopefully) come out with new customers. The catch is that, after discounting your product heavily, they take half as their fee, leaving you with some small percentage of what you would normally charge.

Twirly Girls Pole Fitness received an offer from Groupon last year. We were so excited. In our eyes, it meant Twirly Girls was a reputable company. We thought the owner Bel might get 30, 40, maybe 50 new Twirly Girls out of it. Clearly, we understood that not EVERY person who did the Groupon would continue on as a student. But even if 10 girls stayed on, that would be great money for Bel.

Bel wanted to offer her taster class (a one-time class to let people try out pole dancing), which normally costs $25. Groupon usually cuts the cost in half (so, we're down to $12.50), then pays you half ($6.25). Groupon pushed for more -- they wanted her to offer a month of classes. Bel normally charges $120 for a month of regular classes. Groupon offered the deal at $49, which means Bel received $24.50. That breaks down to around $6 per person per class.

The day of the Groupon offer, some of us sat excitedly around our computers and watched the "sold" number on the website skyrocket. By the end of the day, over 300 people had signed up to take a month of Twirly Girls classes. We couldn't believe it. Bel has a small operation -- just her and one other instructor, both only working part-time. It was a little overwhelming (but exciting) in the beginning. Calls started coming in immediately and Bel was then tasked with finding space to fit all of the new students into classes appropriate for their beginner level.

If a normal student pays $120 per month for four pole classes, each class costs $30. Bel tries to keep those classes light, so one girl to a pole. If six girls are in a class, she makes $180 for each 75 minute class. For the Groupon classes, if she required girls to share a pole, there would be 12 girls in a class. If they are each only paying $6 per class, she makes $72. She's doing twice the work for half the pay. In fact, it was hard to schedule 12 girls in any given class, so she really was only making about $35 per class. If Bel paid the other instructor to do the class, she was actually out-of-pocket money.

Another issue is that people have up to a year to use their Groupon. Bel was flooded in the beginning. This Groupon expires in November 2011. She said there is a large number of people who have not turned in their certificate. This means when the end draws near, she may be flooded again. Or, possibly, some number of people will never turn theirs in and that would be cash in Bel's pocket to make up for the "hit" she's already taken.

Although I know Bel appreciated the experience, and met some wonderful people (Hello to the visual pole girls -- Bel's all deaf class), I know she would do a few things differently. For one thing, she may want to stick with just offering the one-time taster class. I also believe she would not want to leave the offer open for an entire year. Of course, she did gain some new students, and that's what the Groupon is really about -- getting new students/customers.

In the end, for a company to decide if Groupon (or any other group deal) is right for them, they really have to decide if using the Groupon-type service will result in returning customers. I know some people who just snap up these deals and will never return to a store/company again, regardless of the service or product offered. Make sure your company is ready to deal with the onslaught of new customers and that your employees are adept at selling whatever you are offering to maintain some of those customers after the deal is done.

lolorashel lives in the bay area, where she tweets, posts, and twirls about Twirly Girl Pole Fitness: women of all shapes, sizes and abilities can flourish, get their sweat on and still feel sexy!