#1 Website Shopping Cart Mistake

The #1 website shopping cart mistake isn’t one that you make when you’re building your shopping cart. The mistake was made back in college when you decided that Psychology 101 was so easy you could skip half the classes. Because it’s what you would have learned in psychology that will drive more sales to your bottom line.

And ultimately – this is a really simple fix to a common mistake.

To fully understand why you need to do this you can either read Frank Kern’s new book, which I don’t even think has a title yet, or read Influence by Robert Cialdini. Both of them cover this concept quite thoroughly. Continue reading “#1 Website Shopping Cart Mistake”

Small Business Branding Mistakes

John Morgan’s book “Brand Against the Machine” is really a full length definition of branding itself. Sure, there are examples of small business branding mistakes and a whole lot of what you should be doing. But as a whole, it’s what the dictionary should reference when you look up “branding”.

Blockbuster is an example of a company that didn’t see it coming. Coincidentally in Chapter 13, titled Extra Ordinary (not Bankruptcy Court), Morgan talks about the rise of Netflix and Redbox in the wake of Blockbuster’s meltdown. He makes the point that it wasn’t Blockbuster’s failures that made Netflix great. In fact, Netflix became great because they did something “extra ordinary”. They took something mundane like renting a video and added a spin no one had ever tried before. Redbox is now doing the same thing. Continue reading “Small Business Branding Mistakes”

Mistakes Automating Social Media: Terra Nova on Fox

terra-nova-foxNo matter how big you are, you aren’t immune to making mistakes automating social media.

Fox Television has joined the Social Media game in a serious way. In fact each show has its own Twitter account, Facebook page and overall social media presence. If you’re a fan, Fox makes sure that you can show your love everywhere.

But. . .

But the problem is Fox Television automates their social media profiles. And that problem became glaring and apparent during the 2011 World Series when their top rated show Terra Nova was bumped for Game 5.

Since they failed to take the World Series into account when they were automating the system, several tweets that day and the day before announced the upcoming show. In fact, just two hours before the show would have begun, @terranovaonfox reported that the next new episode was only 2 hours away. Continue reading “Mistakes Automating Social Media: Terra Nova on Fox”

Small Business Mistakes to Avoid

Coupon Strategy is one of the most common small business mistakes to avoid. Your coupon strategy should be more than just a way to get new people in the door. And it doesn’t have to cheapen the place.

Take a look at this coupon we received from Laser Quest Nashville after attending a birthday party recently. You can probably argue that the copy isn’t good and the 4″ x 6″ size isn’t perfect. And if this were a marketing piece we received in the mail – I’d listen to your argument. But that’s not what we’re looking at today. Continue reading “Small Business Mistakes to Avoid”

Hank Williams Jr.’s Fox / ESPN Song – Not a Mistake

Hank Williams, Jr. recently turned what seemed like a marketing mistake into a marketing success story. And in true Hank Williams, Jr. fashion he did it by recording and giving away, what I call, his “Fox/ESPN” song (aka Keep the Change).  In the end, you can decide whether the unfortunate incident was a mistake or not.

After using the word Hitler on a Fox morning TV program, ESPN pulled Hank’s Monday Night Football theme song from their broadcast. In what started as a typical morning for the super country star, a little politically incorrect remark turned his world upside down in a matter of hours. Fortunately, today’s technology gave Hank an opportunity to capitalize on the moment. Continue reading “Hank Williams Jr.’s Fox / ESPN Song – Not a Mistake”

Did Dodge make a marketing mistake? #journeysearch

I just completed Dodge’s grand marketing event the Dodge Journey Challenge (#journeychallenge on Twitter). It was a ton of fun following clues online to try and find a Dodge Journey in Oklahoma one week, then the next week driving to Albany, NY to start their east coast challenge.

Being the marketing guy I am, I was very excited to see Dodge put together an online/offline marketing expedition to help sell their Dodge Journey truck. While I had a great time searching the “world wide world” for the truck, I thought Dodge made a few marketing mistakes that will surely result in far fewer sales. Continue reading “Did Dodge make a marketing mistake? #journeysearch”

Top 10 Facebook Marketing Mistakes

So I saw that Janet Slack was doing a teleseminar on the top 10 Facebook Marketing Mistakes – but I didn’t get to attend. So I asked her if she could send me the recording or a transcript or something which I could learn from and then share here.

And she did just that.

In her own words, here’s Janet Slack talking about the top 10 Facebook Marketing Mistakes.

Marketing your small business on Facebook is the latest hot marketing trend.  But recent research shows that only 37% of businesses are getting new customers and revenues for their efforts.  Here are some of the mistakes you just don’t want to make with your Facebook marketing or you risk wasting time and effort. Continue reading “Top 10 Facebook Marketing Mistakes”

A business to business marketing mistake

With permission I’m able to relay this business to business marketing mistake that one of my mastermind members made these last few months. We all knew that the change he made was responsible for the error – but it took a while to pin down the “why”.

So an autoparts wholesaler has a pretty comprehensive website when it came to the products they offered. Each part comes with its own spec that many needed but often did without. Continue reading “A business to business marketing mistake”

Social media marketing mistakes

Wow! I’ve had some great discussions about whether social media is the right step for small businesses. Some have involved the ROI of social media and others questions about manpower and dedication. I believe there are some important social media marketing mistakes you should avoid. So let’s explore whether social media, as a time and activity expense, makes sense for small business.

Part of my discussion involved chats with both Norma Maxwell of InsideWebMarketing.com and Kelsey Foster of ReadyClickContent.com. Our Facebook discussion started with Norma pointing out the success an acquaintance had spending $10/day in Facebook ads to create an audience of 15,000 “fans”. And both spoke highly of the community building that goes on with Facebook – expounding especially upon its importance in business.

I argued then and I argue now that despite those benefits, social media may not be the right step for small businesses. With the exception of one thing. . .

Small Business Responsibilities

To start, time is the most precious commodity a small business owner has – and is its greatest foe. And the responsibilities required to operate successfully are enormous. Consider the marketing, operations, taxes, licenses, customer interaction, research, follow-up, signage, trash, SEO, websites, phone books, computers, HR, etc. . . there is really an infinite number of things to do and an infinite number of expenses.

And small businesses normally have one source of income – customers buying their products and services.  From a week to week basis, a small business has to measure their expenses against their income – and no matter who you are if the income doesn’t exceed the expenses you go out of business. And even when the income exceeds expenses – if that doesn’t happen in a timely manner, a small business may not have the cash to pay its expenses and must shut down.

No matter how you slice the pie, there are only two ways to increase your revenue: 1. More customers OR
2. More money from each customer

What should I spend time doing?

That’s it.  Building a community on Facebook can certainly increase both – but the question is how long will that take for the “community effect” to turn into dollars? And could your time have been better used another way to achieve the same ends?

Time is finite.

So a small business owner must ask him/herself right now, should I be editing and producing a new radio ad with a call-to-action that will fill my pizza restaurant tonite, or answer questions and update Facebook that may begin to fill my pizza restaurant soon? You can’t say both – because in reality you can’t effectively be doing everything.

If you decide your time is best used doing social media, then some time later decide it’s better used elsewhere – how profitable will a dead, untouched Facebook page be for you? With dates on everything, a failure to interact is one of many social media marketing mistakes.

The only way Social Media makes sense

So here’s my caveat to that (that one thing I mentioned) – and the only reason I’d agree that you can do both. Repurposing. Every owner should be repurposing their activities. Here are some examples of repurposing that could set the stage for a great social media campaign:

    1. Instead of answering customer questions via e-mail, write a blog post and send the customer the link to it. Then post a corresponding link to it on your social media sites. You were going to answer the e-mail anyway, might as well turn it into a marketing activity. 

    2. Anytime you’re in a position to give your opinion, analysis or consult on something in your industry, film it or record it with an .mp3 recorder. You’ve then got a podcast segment, YouTube video, transcript, blog post, FAQ, slide show, etc. . . . You don’t have to use it right then and there – but you can never go back to get it later.

    3. Film your crew making the dessert special for the week, building a fence, fixing a roof, doing an estimate, or even cleaning the place. Don’t spend time setting the stage with that stuff – show your customers who you are.  Make every moment something you could market. Besides you were going to do it anyway, might as well make it a marketing moment.

    4. Ask the news media to come to anything you can. While you’re doing your thing – they’re driving business. (And then you can save the article from the news media website,  and post it to your own. You can also print it and mail it to your customers. The ideas are infinite with PR).

I don’t think social media is always the best step for small business – unless it’s truly thought out and you know the costs associated with spending time on Facebook versus calling and thanking your customers – or any of the other 1,146 things you could be doing to increase revenue.  A failure to plan is truly failure to avoid the many potential social media marketing mistakes that happen to many.

Social Marketing Mistakes Exposed

Strangely, I encountered two businesses this week whose social marketing mistakes exposed their lack of business acumen. They were both using social marketing as part of their plan BUT neither really understood how to marry it to their business. No matter how you slice it, if you’ve chosen to add “social marketing” to your mix – you’re still marketing!! The normal rules still apply. Bad Examples of Social Marketing

The people at Dinosaur World in Cave Creek, Kentucky provided my first example of bad social marketing decisions. I had purchased tickets to Dinosaur World for myself and my kids on Groupon.com.  You may not consider Groupon to be social marketing, but know that it’s growth comes almost entirely from people in the social sphere.

I had no trouble with Groupon or the people at Dinosaur World on this trip. In fact, they were great. What was odd was the conversation I had with Dinosaur World about the value of Groupon. The extent of their Groupon followup was a sheet where they marked off the names of people who used the coupons (to prevent fraud). . . and . . . actually that was it.

That was it. They didn’t know if Groupon was providing to them the database of e-mail addresses. They weren’t tracking how much Groupon users were spending in the gift shop. They didn’t provide a coupon or flyer asking us to come back. . . nothing. It was almost as if the idea of Groupon was a novelty.

Poor social marketing examples

My second dealing was truly social marketing gone awry. At my local Daily’s Convenience Store, I stopped in to get a soda and noticed the Foursquare symbol in the window. Hmmm. . . So I checked in on Foursquare and asked the attendant if there was a Foursquare special.

By the way just because these marketing mistakes exposed a weakness in their overall strategy, doesn’t mean I didn’t receive great customer service – nor does it mean they lost me as a customer.

Anyway, he was quite excited to get out their book and see what the special was. I believe it was a free $.99 soda. Yay! That’s what I went in to buy.  He then asked what the password was. I looked at my Foursquare checkin, noticed I had also just became the Mayor, and showed it to him. “Foursquare isn’t giving me a password”, I said.

He said “well, I’ll need the password for the special”. Now the notebook is open so I can see the password plain as day, but I didn’t want to just fake that I got it from Foursquare. Then he said something like “. . .you get the password when you check in on Foursquare in Facebook and then it’s on the Facebook page”.

Hmm. . . yep. Someone at Daily’s didn’t quite understand how to explain it to the clerks. After all the time spent putting the program together, the value was lost on me because the clerk didn’t get it. We argued for 10 more seconds about it, but ultimately I bought the $.99 soda I was excited to get free.

The lesson is simple. Social Marketing is Marketing.  Just because it’s new and trendy doesn’t mean you get to skip the education. It doesn’t mean you can do Groupon and not see how to benefit on the other side.  We’re talking about businesses here – not romper room and not your 7th period study hall project.

If social marketing isn’t making you money – maybe there’s something wrong with your business strategy – not my Facebook habits.  Think about what kinds of problems social marketing mistakes will have exposed.