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10 Mobile Awareness Is Changing the Marketing Game

The entire category of mobile marketing has been a hot or up and coming topic for a number of years, but it’s one of those that hasn’t really hit mainstream for the typical small business.

I think that’s about to change dramatically and here’s why.

Location aware phones.

iPhones and just about every new phone that’s coming online has GPS capabilities built in. As a phone user this is great for mapping and directions. As a marketer this means you can know where a prospect is and deliver content in very specific context.

Google’s Android, open source handset project, has thrown some real gas on this fire too. Developers can use this mobile OS to integrate all of Google’s growing list of web apps into a phone, including search based on location.

The Application Frenzy

iPhone, Blackberry and Android all have pretty straightforward ways for developers to create simple applications that users can add to their phones. I think this will alter and accelerate the use of mobile devices in marketing. Instead of simply pushing out marketing messages through SMS or email, marketers can and are building location and context aware social networking applications that make it very easy for users to get hyper relevant content and offers while standing at the corner of 12th Street and Vine.

Two things every small business should do now

1) Make certain that your business profile is correct and complete in Google Maps, Yahoo!Local and LocalLive. (Claim your listing in Google or risk having it hijacked) – many devices will use this map data to help people locate and view satellite photos of your place of business.

2) Start exploring ways to make your websites, blogs and email marketing efforts mobile friendly. I use a service called MoFuse to create a mobile friendly version of my blog. (This topic warrants and entire post and I’m working on it.)

4 Great New Tool for Start-ups

Start me upStarting a new business is exciting, scary, exhilarating, confusing, and freeing. But, mostly it’s a lot of work. There’s a bunch of steps you need to do in order to get started right. You can do some research and discover most of these steps, but what if there was a way to get a free, hands-on consultant to walk you through all of the various start-up related tasks.

Well, and you knew I was going to say this, I’ve found one for you. In conjunction with Resource Nation, Duct Tape Marketing is proud to introduce StartMeUp.

The program pairs you up with a consultant who can help you create your start-up schedule, you get weekly advice and how to articles, advice on choosing vendors for things like setting up your legal entity and accounting. If you are just starting or thinking about starting your business this is a pretty cool road map. Let me know what you think.

To launch this new service I asked my favorite Startupologist, Rich Sloan of StartUpNation (another must visit resource for starting a business) to record a message introducing you to the StartMeUp service and inviting you to check it out from his vast experience in working with start-up businesses.

23 They don't use social media in my industry

Brown’s LuresMany small business owners still think they can take a pass on the power of online social media tools, particularly if they reside in seemingly low-tech industries like plumbing, fishing, or lawyering. I want to share a quick interview I did with Jason Brown, 23 year old co-founder of Brown Lures. That’s right, they sell fishing lures to guys and gals that probably don’t call hanging out at Web2.0 conferences a good time. (I’m just guessing on that though.)

Brown credits his blog with changing the way people find him, he created a podcast that gives him great “fishing stories” and loyalty from guides up and down the Gulf coast, he uses RSS and content tagging to automatically produce fresh blog content, and email marketing to blow his competition away at trade shows.

Using social media in industries that are still slow to adopt it is the killer competitive advantage.

In Brown’s words:

“We have been running waiting lists for products for about a year now, and no one has any clue how we are doing it without spending big advertising money. I love this stuff . . .”

Alas, I can still here the cries from the cynics – We don’t need no stinkin social media, we just need more sales.

Care to share your “social media in a low-tech” industry success stories.

15 The small business market research challenge

Market research is a challenge for many small businesses. The data that you may need to conquer your corner of the world may not exist in a tidy database, yet marketing strategy should be well informed with real information.

One of the best methods of market research available to the small business in my opinion is the customer or prospect survey. Picking up the phone and calling your best customers from time to time to dig in and really understand what you do well, what you do that is unique, what you could do that no one else does is essential for creating a marketing strategy and message that has impact.

Further using free and low cost tools like Survey Monkey, Survey Gizmo or the survey feature from an email service like iContact is a great way to assess product viability, product features, product names, service names or any other aspect of your business. People like to be asked for their opinion and committing to gathering consistent feedback and research is a great way to move your business in the right direction and monitor the health of your customer relationships.

I spent a few minutes chatting with Barry Jennings, Market Research Guru for Dell. Dell has invested tremendous in recent years getting out and talking one on one with customers and doing very small businesslike research.

2 Pixelfish offers small business video options

pixelfishYou know you need to add video to your marketing mix. You need product demos, case studies, customer testimonials, and company overviews. You name it, there are lots of great uses for video online and off, but while it’s become much easier to product, it’s still a chore to produce quality video.

I company called Pixelfish is trying to change that by offering several low cost packages that can be created with the help of a nationwide network of videographers. Have a listen to my in the field mobile podcast with Dave Brewer, director of sales for Pixelfish.

7 Will social and journalism ever work together?

I gave a presentation for the National Center for Business Journalism this week on the subject of using social media in journalism. The event was hosted by the Kansas City Star and most in attendance were reporters and editors for daily and weekly newspapers.

While all are dabbling in new media (meaning some are blogging) few are able to embrace the full leverage of the social tools available. Some of this is due to a lack of information in an “old school” mindset, but a great deal of is due to the fact that journalists are being asked to embrace these new tools (without a raise in pay) and do so under the umbrella of the paper’s CPM ad model. In other words, go blog, we won’t give you the tools or support to actually do it well, we won’t give you a reason to have a voice and enthusiasm for building a conversation, and, by the way, here’s your page view quota.

It’s a shame that papers seem so bent on keeping their dispassionate observer stance when they have such strong brands and loyal readers just begging them to engage socially.

I caught up with David Hays, tech writer for the Star, for a quick in the field podcast – listen below. I would love to hear from some newspaper journalists who are making it work.

6 Email marketing research keynote

Email marketing summitI am attending the Marketing Sherpa Email Summit in Miami today and will be making frequent mobile posts from the sessions.

Stephan Tornquist from Marketing Sherpa opened the conference with some research findings.

  1. Email marketing’s picture in general is fading because getting through to swamped email boxes has gotten much harder, open rates at 25%
  2. Users of full service email marketing services are generally more successful – list segmentation is the key
  3. Shorten subject lines – 2 and 3 words increase open rates – see Seth Godin’s blog post titles
  4. Vary your templates – move ads and content blocks around to help with ad fatigue.
  5. You can double your media buy or start testing – effective landing pages are the key to driving conversion. Conversion rate is the key metric
  6. Content is more important than frequency

Any open rate tips you’ve found that are working for you right now?