Creating a Call to Action

So, you've got a website (but is it responsive?) and you are selling a product or a service. So Action Button far, so good. But, here is the question we need to ask. "Do you have a CALL TO ACTION on your website?"

Look, just having an electronic brochure...which is what many websites really are...isn't enough to motivate the consumer. You've got a website for a reason. It's there to share information about your business, show off you ability to answer questions or provide a service. But (and you knew that was coming) if you fail to ask your visitors to actually DO something after they meet you then you are missing...doing business.

The goal is to convert "lookers" into customers and clients.  And that, my friend, is difficult to do with a passive web presence. 

How do you know if you've got a passive website? If you track your site using, say Google Analytics, and you've got a ton of visits but a bunch of bounces.  Or if you've got a super keen website and people are coming but then business is slack.  Bingo...passive website. 

It's pretty simple. 

So here are several tips that will allow you to take your passive site and make it interactive with your perspective customers/clients:

  • Call to Action Button - This is an easy fix. It can be "Ask your question." "Donate Here!", "Let's Talk", "Use the App" any number of things that you want the visitor to DO. Make sure that it can been seen and is large enough so folks don't skip it. 
  • Chat Button - You can offer a "live chat". OK, so you don't have the staff to do a real live chat but you can configure the "Let's Chat" button to generate an email that you can come back to that evening or later in the day and have that communication.
  • Help Button - Perhaps you are in a service sector that is specific to various consumer needs. Put up a call to action button that has a place where visitors can fill in a form and ask their question. You can have disclaimers that indicate the question does not, in any way, create a client relationship, but is an informational service. (Go on, click the "Act Now" button above.)
  • Call Us Now! - You can have a large call to action button that is directed to a dedicated voice mail number. Rather than the standard, "Your call is very important..." (Please, BTW do not employ that language because...most of the time you are lying.) use this language, "Thank you for calling. Please let us know how we might help. We promise to call you back and have the discussion!"  And, then....do it.

Simple fix items that will turn your passive website into a way you can generate business.

Go!

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Use It or Lose It

Back in November the Greater Des Moines Partnership (whom I admire and am an active Look Local First 2015member) rolled out a marketing plan designed to remind holiday shoppers that buying local has an enormous impact on the local economy. Look Local First had all the stuff: Images, a website and even a hashtag #LookLocalFirst to be used to promote the program via social media.

The other day I did a Twitter Search for #LookLocalFirst just to see if anybody had been using the hashtag. You know, spreading the whole idea that "Shop Local" is good for the local economy.  Here is a screen shot of what I found.

Look Local First Twitter Mentions 21 DecLook, I get it.  People get busy, they forget and sometimes it's tough to market a movement...even if that movement helps serve the commercial interests of the area.  So, how about some social media tips for the use of a hashtag promotion?

  • Encouragement - If you've got a built in set of social media followers continue to encourage them to use the hashtag and make sure they understand the relationship they have to share the message;
  • Use It - In this case the last time I could see that the sponsoring organization used #LookLocalFirst was the end of November. A long range campaign needs engagement all the time;
  • Cross Promotion - Use other media to explain the message. A couple of short videos, done by (in this case) small business people gives a human reason to use the hashtag;
  • Key Players - Get some key players in your social media world to use the hashtag. People follow people;
  • Blog About It - One and done doesn't get it. Sure you can have a big rollout but if you move on too quickly it loses steam. Offer a few success stories;
  • Start Early - If it's a campaign meant to cover the fourth quarter or two months of the fourth quarter start the campaign awareness at least a month earlier.

Big companies and organizations often have way too much going on and tend to forget about the campaign they started. That helps nobody. Stay with it and your ROI will improve.

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Why Knowing Trends Matters

We follow trends because it's important to understand where business is going rather than Closed Storewhere we've been. Not to say we should forget about our history but our eyes should always be on tomorrow so that business can adjust to the market. And we're not just talking about color schemes. We're talking about major shifts in consumers that drives marketing/advertising.

Home Depot is a case in point.

Last week, on the Business News Hour, we had a story about how Home Depot was changing their marketing mix away from the Do It Yourself person and focusing more on professional re-modelers and contractors. For a business that has built their brand on DIY this is a seismic shift.

Why?

Because the understand the trends in home-ownership. Consider:

  • Home-Ownership at an All Time Low: Only 63.5% of Americans own their home the lowest number since 1967;
  • DIY Gives Way to Do It For Me: As Baby Boomers age they are not as interested in tackling a kitchen or bathroom re-do and would rather hire it done;
  • Got No Skills: In many parts of the country "Shop Class" is a thing of the past. Shop was replaced by computer science and a generation didn't learn about building stuff;
  • More Renters: Blame it on the recession, stagnate wages, the desire to have fixed monthly expenses; whatever the reason more and more people are turning to rentals. Check the chart below.

Rise of RentersIt all adds up to a trend and Home Depot responded even though it meant moving away from what made them the best DIY store in the nation.

So, here are some questions for you:  Are you staying ahead of the trends? Are you paying attention? If sales are in a slump, or just not as robust as they once were, is it a trend away from your product or service? Do you know?

Maybe it's time to think about it...

Thanks for reading!

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The Power of the Podcast for Business

I get it you've already got plenty on your advertising/marketing plate and you may think you Podcastdon't have room for more. Fair but let me share with you an opportunity to have your voice heard like in "really heard".

If you want to skip reading and rather listen to what a Podcast can sound like...here you go:

Podcast Blog

Podcasting is something most businesses don't do mostly because they fail to see the value in podcasting or they don't understand how to create a podcast. Let me help you with both:

Podcast Value

People are busy, often too busy to read. They may head to the gym, drive a distance to the office, get on the road for a game or hit the highway for a meeting. Tough to read when jogging or driving but really easy to listen to a podcast.  The value of creating a podcast for your business is that you can, in a very short period of time, capture the attention of your target audience and they can "tune in" to the "voice of your business".

Creating a Podcast

It doesn't require much. Your computer and a microphone should work but then you'll have two additional issues. You'll need some software to edit your podcast. There is a free version of Audacity out there that we've used for years or you can pony up and purchase another system.

The content of your podcast should be original. Just like your blog you now have the opportunity to share your knowledge with others but remember, just like video, you've only got seconds to capture the attention of your audience. Get to it and make it enjoyable to listen to. Offer tips, suggestions and put your expertise on display. Keep your podcast to maximum of IOB_podcastv2 TuneInfifteen minutes. Often less...is best.

I'd also suggest to you that you use original music at the front so that your podcast becomes your own. Looking for original music for yours?  Contact my friend James Goodlett from JamGood Productions great stuff and he did ours for the Business News Hour.

Also get some original artwork for your podcast. We also did that for the Business News Hour and it's instantly identifiable to what we do.

Hosting Your Podcast

So where do you put your podcast? There are a number of sites out there. We've used Podbean for several years and it allows us a tracking system to record the downloads. There are others and here is a link to TechNorms for a listing of eight. And don't forget to include iTunes for an option.

Sharing Your Podcast 

Social Media time baby!  Don't be bashful. Place it on your website, splash it on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook...what you are currently using for sharing...now you have your podcast to share as well.

I'm not going to kid you it takes time...but if you've already got written content why not re-purpose that into your new podcast?

You're...On!

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Want A Brand Warrior? Give a Great Experience!

A "Brand Warrior" is a person who isn't afraid to tell others how fantastic, rewarding and VonMaurwonderful your product/service/store is.  They will use opportunities to "name drop" your brand, they will share photos of your brand, they will use social media to promote your brand and...you don't pay them a dime.

How does that happen?

It's not price. It is not convenience. It's not the paid advertising. It's all about the experience.

I've been a "Brand Warrior" for Von Maur for years. Why? It's all about the experience.

Here's a quick example:

Three weeks ago I purchased a bottle of cologne. The choice was made by a sample I'd been given by the Von Maur staff a few months earlier. It was OK...but for some reason the scent "left" just an hour after application.

Von Maur InteriorSo, I took it back. I was a little concerned that they might say, "Hey, you've used this for three weeks and NOW you want to bring it back?"

Nope...no problem, no pressure just a genuine concern that I got what I wanted. So, I picked out a different scent. However, my Bride didn't like it...so... within a day back to Von Maur.

Once again...no issue.  No "customer service hell" just lots of help and, yet, another great experience.

You want to create a "Brand Warrior" for your business?  Excite. Over Deliver. Empathize.  All while charging a price that is worth the..experience.

Thanks for reading!

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So What Does This Tell Us?

This morning I made two telephone calls to well known businesses in the Des Moines Metro. I Too Busy was not selling anything I was, actually, seeking to buy.

The first call was answered by a human (within three rings) who not only sounded pleased that the phone rang but also gave me her name.  I asked for the CEO, whom I know well, and Stephanie said, "I'm sorry but she is not in. Would you like me to send you to her voice mail or may I take a personal message?"

What?  A PERSONAL MESSAGE from a person...like written down maybe even on PAPER and HANDED to my friend?  Think I'll get a call back? (I will...)

The other call was to a business, that I also know well. The connection took over thirty-five seconds to complete.  I know because I called back just to time it. When the call was answered I was told that "everybody was busy" and that I should leave a message.  No directory, no option...just "General Voice Mail Hell".

My only other option was to fill out the very generic online form (which I've done before) and have my message go to "General E-Mail Hell". I know that because the last time I did this I received no call back.

So...what does these two brands say to you?

No, I ain't calling back number two.

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Let's Start A Media Company!

Thought I'd share something I head recently about advertising, marketing and the media. If Media Signyou've ever wondered if you could compete with "media giants" now is the time to act. And you have the power. Ready?

So you are in business and I come to you and say, "Hey, let's you and I start a media company!" No doubt you would wonder what I was drinking and might come back with, "A media company? Are you crazy?  That would cost a fortune!"

Maybe...and maybe not. If you've got seven minutes have a listen. I think you'll get it!

 

Thanks for reading and listening!

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Social Media Marketing in Northern Iowa

I'm honored to have been asked to be part of this amazing group of  NIACC Oct 2015 Two Use
professional marketers who will do a full day event about Social Media Marketing for Business.  I'll post a link to the registration page toward the end of this post.

Here's the deal: As a business person you've been told "Social media is free and everybody should use it." That, my friends is a lie. Social Media Marketing is not free it takes time and talent. That being the case why not attend a session where some of the best professionals in marketing will share their tips, suggestions and demonstrate what works...and what needs work. Here's more:

 

If you are in business you want to add more to the bottom line...while engaging consumers with your story.  Spend some time with us on 24 October at NIACC during the Midwest Social Media Summit! Here is that registration link.

Seek...answers.

Thanks for reading, watching coming by!

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Turning a Blind Eye...

Have you ever been so enamored with one or two forms of media Woman Blind Eyeadvertising that you turn a "blind eye" to everything else? Hey, you're not alone. That's why, years ago, we made the decision to listen to all the pitches we got from advertising folks. You never know when you might hit on the "silver bullet".

So, let's talk about an ancient advertising vehicle that you may dismiss because, heck, that "social media stuff" is new, flashy and..."free"! (Well, not really but you know what I mean.)

So, let's talk radio.

What? "Boring old radio?", "Nobody actually listens to radio anymore." "I only listen to satellite radio!" I've heard them all and never mind that, according to the Pew Research Center on Journalism and Media"Traditional AM/FM radio, meanwhile, continues to reach the overwhelming majority of the American public – 91% of Americans ages 12 and older had listened in the week before they were surveyed in 2014."

Yeah, never mind.

Chuck Meford MPL Talking Two 3 march 2015The issue isn't that "nobody listens" to AM/FM radio the issue is that you don't know how to advertise on radio and you won't listen to people who know the business. So, rather than seek the answers, rather than ask the question, rather than do the work...you turn a blind eye toward radio.

So, let me make this really easy for you. And if it seems like I'm shilling...well fine...but it's because I believe this might help your business.

On the 3rd of November, here in Des Moines, a fellow by the name of Chuck Mefford is presenting a FREE seminar on branding and radio. Chuck isn't some "fly-by-night" huckster he's got years and years of success in Chuck Mefford Book helping big and small corporations focus on their brand and their brand message with a focus on increasing sales. (Because that's the real measurement.)

Here is a link to the Des Moines Radio Group Registration Page and NOPE they are not paying me, they did not ask me, they don't even know I wrote this (until now). If you need more proof here is a link to Brands Formation the Chuck Mefford company. (Don't let the BIG NAMES scare you..radio is still affordable!)

Your cost to attend?  A little time.  And, if you tell me, "Michael, I've been to these free radio seminars before and they don't work!" I'll tell you that the reason they don't work is that you didn't work the system.

Does that mean "print is dead"? Nope but that comes later.

Thanks for reading! 

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The Eyes Have It

We're asked all the time about what makes the most effective Content Marketing Effectiveadvertising/marketing content. In other words...what works best.  The simple answer is "it depends on your target demographic" but that takes time and talent to figure out so let's cut to the most recent study.

We realize this is for B to B however, we think it holds well for B to C marketing as well.

According to the North American Content Marketing Institute the most effective tool is person-to-person contact. It figures, "People like to do business with people they know and trust" right?  But directly equal to that is content in video form.

VIDEO PEOPLE!

And the very cool thing about video is that it crosses nearly all the other platforms and can be used in each:

  • Video for Social Media Content
  • Video for Case Studies, White Papers
  • Video for your Website
  • Video for your Nearly Everything...

Of course it has to be done well and connect with the audience and you can't drone on and on...

Get Video and Get Noticed!

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