Back to Business This Fall

Strategy Plan One

September 8, 2012

back to businessFall Business Period

A week has passed in September… families, communities and the education system are all adjusting to the “back to school” phase of the year.  For many students, young and old, back to school represents a period of renewal, of fresh starts, starting up again.

However, this positive energy can be easily transferred over to the business sector, for existing and budding entrepreneurs.

New entrepreneurs can take advantage of the fresh start approach, planning their initial strategies for the Fall, Winter and 2013 periods.  Some fiscal year periods start in the Fall for good reasons related or integrated into the government fiscal years, or corporate fiscal years.   Existing businesses should refresh their business plans to reflect any market or industry changes that have occurred on local, global and international scales.  Building on successes and results from the previous business cycles, businesses should tweak business and marketing plans accordingly.

Establishing Goals this Fall

Get serious about business and personal development this Fall.  Always as a first step, establish some aggressive, achievable goals and objectives.  Without goals and objectives you won’t be able to set some strategic directions for yourself and your business.  Ensure your goals are achievable, measurable, and that you apply flexibility to adapt and revise goals and strategies.

Business Ideas and Hints for the Fall

Here are some helpful hints and ideas to think about some positive steps to take in business and personal development this fall:

  • Planning – Always a great idea as part of your core activities to review, tweak your business and marketing plans
  • Scan your business environment and competitors – develop some products or services that will be a bit different or new to your market
  • Capacity and Skill development – naturally many classes are offered in the Fall schedule; good time to brush up on business skills
  • Product and Service Offerings – review your results to date and revise if necessary heading into the Fall, Winter and 2013 periods
  • Refresh, redesign – Whether you have a store front or website, take a look at your layout and seek feedback from customers for better designs and layout
  • Communications and Outreach – develop new communications to your customers; utilize social media for extended outreach and measure your effectiveness on social media
  • Generate Fall Buzz, Interest – generate new and continued interest in your company, your products and services; offer Fall free or trial offers

Check out these Fall Business Strategies:

More reading on business topics:

Strategy Plan One

http://strategyplanone.com

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Social Media – Getting Organized With a Task List

Strategy Plan One

August 11, 2012

Social Media – Task List

Do you have a new or existing business and feeling overwhelmed with trying to keep up with all the activities you feel you need to accomplish, on the multitude of social media platforms?  You may not be alone as there are endless activities you could complete, in a swirling universe of social media, all for different reasons and objectives.

Here in this infographic is an example of what The Whole Brain Group classifies as a “Sensible Social Media Checklist” of activities.

social media - task list

 

Source:  The Whole Brain Group 

Social Media Marketing

So what’s in your social media strategy?  What do you plan to tackle on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.  The above infographic gives us a glimpse of something that may work for one company.  Ensure you plan out your social media strategy and activities.  Test out and measure your efforts.  Constantly be looking to improve and revise your strategy and activities for better results.  Make it applicable to your business and to the way you engage and communicate with your customers.

In developing your social media plan:

  1. Establish your objectives
  2. Investigate methods to communicate and engage your customers
  3. Develop some options for marketing activities
  4. Determine social media platforms that would be applicable 
  5. Develop a plan of social media activities  (social media task list)
  6. Estimate the marketing budget
  7. Implement, test, measure, analyze
  8. Revision and continuous improvement for better results

 

Here are some additional Social Media articles, blogs and infographics:

More business blogs of interest:

 

Strategy Plan One

http://strategyplanone.com

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

 

Social Media Impacts on Small Business [infographic]

Strategy Plan One

August 4, 2012

Social Media and Small Business

Small businesses face a significant uphill battle in these economic times to engage and communicate with consumers.  Marketing and communications have vastly changed over the past few years, and with the add-on of social media as a tool, measurable benefits and trends are occurring with the small business sector.

This informative graphic from Bolt Insurance highlights the following small business and social media statistics and trends:

  • 81% of small business use social media to get their message out and engage with customers
  • 95% use email marketing
  • 98% of small business engage in website marketing
  • 62% of businesses not using social media will plan to in the next year
  • 81% that currently use social media will step up efforts in the next year

Top challenges small businesses face according to this survey:

  • 80% claim attracting new customers are the biggest challenge
  • 52% state obtaining referrals as the greatest issue
  • 41% of small business would like to squeeze and maximize results with marketing dollars 

Social media effectiveness:

  • 82% state Facebook as the most effective social media platform
  • 73% of respondents say YouTube most effective
  • 47%  LinkedIn 
  • 47% claim Twitter is the most effective social media site

View some more interesting statistics in the infographic below.

small business marketing

 

Courtesy: Bolt Insurance

As an entrepreneur / small business, it is advantageous to stay on track with developing trends and to design products and services that not only meets current customer demand, but also future consumer needs.  Review and analyze marketing conditions and trends, and plan accordingly.

Here are some additional Social Media articles, blogs and infographics:

More business blogs of interest:

 

Strategy Plan One

http://strategyplanone.com

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Customer Retention – Observing Movie Theater Industry Strategies and Tactics

Strategy Plan One

July 28, 2012

customer retentionCustomer Retention

Similar to other business industries, the movie theater industry has experienced ups and downs over the past few decades, with trying to build the customer base and in customer retention.

 

It is often stated in Customer Relationship Management strategies that it is 3 times harder to attract new customers than to keep customers through customer retention.  What do you think the logical, strategic approach is?

ice ageOn a Friday night, a group of us decided to take in a movie at the theater.  Deciding to be entertained in 3-D, we slid in and bought tickets for Ice Age: Continental Drift.  After paying  the usual ticket prices, the design of the theater brings you to the unavoidable drink – snack – popcorn counter, where of course, we snack – geared everyone for the movie.

To not miss anything, like anyone else, we wanted to ensure we were there prior to the 7:15pm start time.   As you are probably aware, the first few minutes prior to the start time, movie goers are slightly entertained, with all bodies pointing forward to the screen with clips and shots of “did you remember to get…”, and all the rest of value-added, movie theater promotional stuff.  After 10 minutes of alternating between occasionally glancing at the screen and frequently engaging in conversation with our party, the lights dimmed and volume was cranked up.

In your mind 7:15pm start time is firm and you are ready to watch.  Nope, not the case.  For the next 16 minutes (yes I was the annoying one looking at my mobile device lighting up the adjacent areas) we all sat through movie trailers, ads and clips, one after another.  Then another promotion for another 3-D movie coming up.  Oh, and then one fairly entertaining movie theater industry ad attempting to generate more interest in coming to the movie theater again.  16 minutes of this!  Didn’t we all just pay to watch a movie at 7:15pm?  I can expect to click-through pop up ads on a website if I am getting something for free there, but experiencing this in a movie theater?  Why?

Don’t get me wrong that I am severely complaining here, but highlighting more of a business and marketing observation.  Quite frequently some of us put on our business hats and observe how businesses promote themselves, engage and communicate with the customer, and try to build up the loyal base of repeat customers.  Here are some of the messaging and customer retention relevant observations at the theater before the movie, during that time frame prior to the movie, and post-movie time frame:

  • Customer convenience – theaters make it easy for customers to buy tickets in advance at kiosks or online
  • Captivated audience – Paying customers are in front of the screen, focused on the screen and the instructions on proper movie theater etiquette tells movie goers not to be doing anything else (ie: don’t talk, don’t use mobile devices)
  • Free Trial – Customers are getting a “free” glimpse at additional products, in the appropriate format (ie: movie theater ads have a bigger impact being played in the actual movie theater and not on a 21 inch, non-surround sound system at home)
  • Colors, design and words used in the clips, trailers and ads can create positive responses from the consumer
  • Investment – the movie industry sinks millions into advertising and test marketing these ads prior to developing the final 2 minute clip or trailer (ever notice movies had looked super appealing in those trailers?)
  • Feedback – the theaters capture customer feedback in two ways – in person or by kiosk; this feedback is an important part of improving the experience and of the Customer Relationship Management process

Whatever the tactics and strategies used by the movie theater industry, they are able to hit and make an impact on the paying customer to enable a response to return.  In your business, what are your strategies to gain the continued interest from your customer?  Keep them informed? Provide them will add-on packages while you have their attention?  Offer the free trial to keep the customer coming back?  Ensure you observe certain industry and business tactics towards gaining and retaining the customer base.  Incorporate strong customer retention strategies in your business plan and marketing strategies.

More on the Customer:

More business blogs of interest:

 

Ty Col    Consultant, Mentor, Entrepreneur

Strategy Plan One

http://strategyplanone.com

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Pay Per Click – Advertising Statistics and Trends [infographic]

Strategy Plan One

July 20, 2012

Pay Per Click

Businesses and marketers are always keen to observe the trends with pay per click advertising, as pay per click advertising may be proving to be more beneficial than just aligning efforts to rank sites through organic searches.

Pay per click advertising, essentially paying for advertising to rank at the top of search engines, is an effective method to generate more traffic to websites.  In a world of overwhelming information available over the web, it is advantageous for businesses and marketers to have links and information readily available at consumer’s fingertips and in plain sight.  Hence the reasons, search engine sites have sponsored ads lining the top part of the pages and right columns.  These areas of web pages result in the greatest number of user clicks.

Some interesting pay per click (PPC) advertising statistics and trends are highlighted in this infographic from WordStream:

  • Pay per click ad results outweigh organic search results by nearly 2:1 (commercial content)
  • PPC accounts for 64.5% of clicks (high commercial intent)
  • Top 3 Sponsored links at the top of the Google search page account for 41.1% of the clicks
  • Sponsored ads on Google account for over 85% of the page above the fold
  • If companies already rank organically, adding pay per click ads results in 89% new visitor traffic
  • Click through rates for Google ads are 600 times higher than paid ads on Facebook pages

Check out some more information and trends on pay per click advertising, comparison of SEO and pay per click, and options in paid advertising.

pay per click

Source:  WordStream

Businesses and marketing specialists should carefully weigh the options of marketing and advertising activities.  As in all business activities, marketing plans should be developed, identifying marketing activities and budgets.  Pay per click advertising may form part of the advertising campaign, and with all activities, the results of efforts should be tracked, measured and analyzed.  You may want to compare the return on investment in pay per click advertising to other forms of marketing and advertising activities in your business.

More on Marketing:

More business blogs of interest:

Strategy Plan One

http://strategyplanone.com

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Marketing Tips for Better Customer Engagement and Results [infographic]

Strategy Plan One

July 12, 2012

Marketing Tips

In business it is critical to interact and communicate with customers to get the sense of what customers want and if your business is meeting their needs.  The more frequent, valuable, and genuine your interactions and communications are, the more trust you will build with your potential and existing client base.

Some simple marketing, business tips produced in an infographic by Mindspress, highlight the small things you can do to build better rapport with clients.  By making small adjustments and improvements in activities, you can achieve greater exposure in the environment and communities, and better results with customers.

  • Communications – gather customer contact information such as email to give you an avenue to engage and offer to the customer frequently.
  • Asking for feedback – the ability for customers to provide a feedback and reviews will create buzz around your products and services.  It also helps in creating traffic and in spreading the word through multiple sources and Google searches.
  • Community involvement – according to this article, giving back to the community, such as volunteering, sponsoring, and donating creates greater exposure for your business.  It helps improve morale for those who feel good with their involvement in communities.  Customers will take note!
  • Revised Marketing & Business Planning – it is extremely important to review your marketing and operational activities, to measure and to analyze the results of anything you are doing.  The global, domestic and local markets and business conditions change frequently … so should your marketing activities, marketing plan and business plan.  Stay on top!
  • Continuous Learning Environment – you need to keep a pulse of customer feedback and to incorporate the constructive messaging back from the customer.  When the customer is telling your something after their purchase, they are informing you (as an added benefit to you) that they invested in you, and in order to keep them you need to improve the experience, product or service.  Listen well and incorporate changes based on feedback.

marketing tips

Source: Mindspress.com

More on Marketing:

More business blogs of interest:

Strategy Plan One

http://strategyplanone.com

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Social Media and Online Customer Trends [Infographic]

Strategy Plan One

June 19, 2012 

Social Media and E-commerce

Social media use and e-commerce have strong business connections.  Where are the trends heading?  Are online sales trends through social media on an exponential growth track or on a realistic, small growth trend similar to non social media linked sales?

Here is an interesting infographic from Gloople, and the highlights:

  • Only 9% of commerce currently generated online
  • 60% of consumers shop online quarterly
  • By 2015, 50% of companies will generate online sales through social media or mobile apps
  • Estimated: 192 Million consumers will shop online by 2016
  • Big Jump: Ave. annual online spending by consumers in 2016 over $2,000
  • Big Online Sales globally – estimated to exceed $400 Billion annually by 2016

Social Media Consumer Trends:

  • 20% online purchases within a social media site
  • 40% of Twitter Users search for products & services via Twitter
  • 12% of consumers made purchases due to info found on Twitter
  • 75% more likely to purchase if a friend endorses through social media
  • 34% more likely to share purchase info on social media site than on an           e-commerce site
  • 77% of online shoppers use reviews
  • 81% receive online advice on products & services

Social Media Commerce Facts and Statistics

  • 700 Billion minutes / month spent on Facebook
  • 6.5% click through rate on Facebook walls
  • Don’t forget Google+ …now at 170 M users
  • Pinterest now accounting for 3.6% of referral traffic
  • Pinterest click through rate 3 times more than Google+
  • 65% of global top 100 companies have a Twitter account

social media - online customer trends

Here are some additional Social Media articles, blogs and infographics:

 

Strategy Plan One

http://strategyplanone.com

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One