Celebrate a Holiday – It’s Good for Business

Everyone loves a holiday – especially smart marketers. There is no better time to promote a product, service or cause than when your target audience is in a celebratory mood. The reason some top brands spend millions promoting holiday festivities is clear – it’s great for sales and brand awareness.

If you don’t have a seasonal campaign calendar, it’s worth it to start thinking about putting one together. A seasonal campaign calendar will help you anticipate upcoming holidays so you can turn them into sales and marketing opportunities for your business.

Running a successful seasonal campaign involves more than sending a ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’ type email. You’ll have to come up with cleaver ways to engage your audience, pair your brand with the festivities, and present an opportunity to convert your audience to customers.

Here are three smart steps you can take towards seasonal campaigning –

1. Get a list of holidays that work for your product, service or cause. Start with the holidays your client’s are most likely to celebrate; if you don’t know what they are – ask them. Demographic information could also offer some clues. Holidays that align with your brand are also great places to start – for example, if you are running an Irish pub, St. Patrick’s Day could be a winner!

2. Engage your audience. How do you communicate with your target market? Get your modus operandi into holiday mode. Your e-newsletter, Website, social network presence should be dressed up for the party!

3. Convert your audience to customers. Create a buzz with giveaways, events, coupons – whatever will get your target audience in the door to sample your wares and have a great time.

If you came up with some great ideas you’d like to share – let us know!

What Sucks About Facebook’s Page Design Updates

If you are using a Facebook page to promote your business or organization,  you already know that come March 2011 your Facebook page will have an ‘updated’ layout. Some of the updates are great for page administrators – but from a marketing perspective, some of the updates are a headache. Here are three potential hitches and what you can do about them –

1. Hello photos, goodbye tabs. Info that was once accessible via tabs at the top of your page has moved to the left column – as ‘links’. Photos have taken over the space that was once dedicated to tabs. This might have been a great update for profiles since people enjoy looking at their friend’s photos – but are people as interested in photos from the businesses and organizations they choose to ‘Like’? This update is not going to bode well for businesses that use customized tabs for promotions.
What to do: Set your preferred customized FBML tab as your landing page.

2. Where is my ‘Like’ prompt? Most customized tabs have an arrow or some kind of prompting text reminding visitors to ‘like’ the Facebook page. You may need to update the alignment of these prompts as your Facebook page now has a breadcrumb navigation that pushes the ‘Like’ button to a new position.
What to do: Embed a ‘Like’ button on the customized FBML tab.

3.  They traded my wall size for…? Your wall got narrower – and the ad space to the right got wider. Businesses and organizations are not going to be happy about losing 50 pixels of messaging space to ads from competing brands. Marketers on the other hand will be happy about having more space to promote their wares.
What to do: Run ads to promote your business and organization – social media advertising is always worth it.

Marketing – The Most Important Step in App Development

Getting ready to launch an app for your business? Don’t forget marketing. What’s the use of a great app if no one knows about it? Fact is, if you wait until your app is complete to start promoting it, you’ll have to wait longer for it to gain traction with an audience.

Here are three tips for promoting your apps before they get to market-
1. Create a splash page. As soon as you start building your app, create a informational Web page to let your visitors know that your app is coming soon. Allow visitors to join a mailing list to learn more or be notified of the launch.
2. Use promotional videos to build interest in your app. Demos, how-to, and video reviews are great ways to get tech blogs to write about your app and build a buzz.
3. Invest in advertising. Word of mouth and getting your app in an app store is great, but an advertising plan will certainly boost sales.

And here’s another tip – if you are working at developing a slew of apps, don’t release them all at once. According to the experts, releasing your apps one at a time is a better way to create a sustainable buzz.

Talk to an interactive marketing expert to see which app could get your business out there — or give us a call, we’d like to help!

Mobile apps developers discuss the app economy

Check out our webcast of the recent Google Talks event, “The App Economy: How mobile developers attract users, win fans and make money.”

Watch live streaming video from marooninteractive at livestream.com

Moderator:
Jon Potter, RPG Strategies

Panel:
Leon Palm, Developer, Google Public Sector Team
Ken Yarmosh, Analyst, Developer, & Author: App Savvy (O’Reilly Press)
David Smith, Developer, AudioBookShelf
Natalia Luckyanova, Developer, Harbor Master
Robert Sarvis, Developer, Wertago

How mobile developers attract users, win fans and make money

Join us on Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 1:30 PM – 3:00 PM for live blogging from Google’s Washington DC Office as technologists gather to discuss, “The App Economy: How mobile developers attract users, win fans and make money”. We’ll share insights from successful app developers about this innovative new sector. How does someone go from creating mobile apps as a hobby to a full-time job? What kinds of apps are most popular with consumers? What’s the difference between paying to download an app and making your app free but showing ads? How are app developers making money from their creations? And where is this new growth area going?

Check out a rebroadcast here

Watch live streaming video from marooninteractive at livestream.com

Over the past two years a new and burgeoning economy has grown quietly in the tech sector. Fueled by the boom in smartphones, programmers and entrepreneurs have been attracting users and making money by building mobile applications, commonly known as apps. Mobile apps keep us entertained and productive while enhancing communication and information sharing. Today it is estimated there are more than 500 thousand apps running on more than 150 million mobile devices, and many of these apps are making serious money for their creators. The “app economy” is estimated to be $2 billion annually, growing to $4 billion by 2012.

Panel: Leon Palm, Developer, Google Public Sector Team; Ken Yarmosh, Analyst, Developer, & Author: App Savvy (O’Reilly Press); David Smith, Developer, AudioBookShelf; Natalia Luckyanova, Developer, Harbor Master; Robert Sarvis, Developer, Wertago.

Set a reminder, and watch it live! Got questions? Submit them here.

Do you need a mobile phone for facebook?

Do I need a mobile phone to be on facebook?

2011 is a big year for mobile marketing and facebook is gearing up to take advantage of this trend by forcing users to add mobile phone numbers to their profiles.

facebook users are now being asked to enter their mobile phone numbers and enable SMS texting from the social network in order to verify their identities for simple tasks such as logging in or setting up a vanity URL. If you’d rather not enter your mobile phone number in the network’s database, you are simply told to try again “at a later time”.

There is no word from facebook to clarify what “a later time” might mean, but this is proving an inconvenience for businesses that don’t use mobile phones or people would rather not add their mobile phone number to the network.

facebook requests mobile phone number for vanity url
facebook: no mobile phone number? try again at a later time

But let’s be clear, a mobile phone is not a requirement for being on facebook and doing business in the world’s #1 social network – but it’s fast becoming a necessity.

New Year’s Resolutions For Small Businesses

Get a smart phone, socialize your Website and form partnerships in 20111. Get a smart phone. This great tip appeared on the New York Times‘ list of “10 Ways to Get the Most Out of Technology“. Your clients are no longer using phones for conversation only, they are using them to find products and services, get directions,  keep track of appointments and goals. Mobile marketing is the next frontier for engaging your clients. In order to understand how your customers are using mobile phones, you need to become a user.

2. Socialize your Website. If referrals are important to your business, you’ll need to make it easy for your current clients to tell their friends about your great products and services. Subscribe to services (such as ‘Add This‘ and ‘Share This’) that allow visitors and clients to share your content with friends in their social networks. After all, your clients (and potential clients) are visiting your Website, but they are spending most of their time in social networks.

3. Form partnerships to promote your business. Although new media marketing delivers clear, track-able results, it can be costly and time consuming for small businesses. Partnering with a business that is not a competitor is one way to over come the cost and time. For example, if you are running a bakery, partner with the shop next door to retweet messages, Facebook statuses and share a marketing budget. Soon you’ll find that you are building and sharing a community of supporters for half the effort.

Top 10 Interactive Marketing Articles for 2010

2010 was a great year for us – we thoroughly enjoyed sharing the many interactive marketing ideas we published on this Website and elsewhere. Many of our articles were based on questions that came from projects and friends, and we certainly hope you keep them coming. Here’s a rundown of our top social media and interactive marketing articles for 2010 (based on visits and pageviews).

  1. Social Networks: Free R&D for Small Business
  2. Email vs. Social Media – Should you follow Ben and Jerry’s?
  3. How Much Time Should Visitors Spend on Your Website?
  4. Three Steps to Better Open Rates
  5. When your Company Name is Your Top Keyword
  6. Best Billboard? Yahoo! Mail Homepage
  7. Is mobile phone jailbreaking good for business?
  8. Yahoo! tosses HotJobs to Monster – Search Fail?
  9. How to become a “trending topic” on Twitter
  10. Facebook closing Gift Shop – but not for entrepreneurs

We hope you’ll keep coming back for more – follow us on Twitter @suzettegardner, @smmarketingtips, join us on Facebook or get fresh updates via email, the good (almost) ole fashioned way.

What’s next? More great interactive marketing tips and insights – plus an in-depth look at advertising today. Stay tuned!

What’s Next for Facebook? Games!

What's next for Facebook? Games
Next on Facebook? Games!

How do Facebook’s 500 million users spend over 700 billion minutes each month in that social network? The typical drill is that they log in, skim the ‘latest updates’, browse their friends’ profiles, read emails and follow up on a few leads from people and businesses they ‘like’, then interact with one or more of over 550,000 active applications currently on the platform – i.e. mostly to play games. Continue reading “What’s Next for Facebook? Games!”

Social Networks: Free R&D for Small Business

How do you keep your products and services fresh? Three words – “Research and Development”. True, R&D can be expensive and time consuming, but without it you could be wasting money trying to convince your target market to buy your products when you should be providing the products and services that they actually want.

Most small businesses think that they have to get to ‘big’ before they can afford R&D – not true. Here’s our quick guide to using social networks for research and development (R&D) on a shoe string budget: Continue reading “Social Networks: Free R&D for Small Business”