Marketing

Strengthen Your Retail Business Marketing With Snapchat

Interested in ways to use Snapchat to strengthen your brand?

With Snapchat, you can increase community engagement and brand awareness through innovative marketing campaigns.
With over 100 million daily active users and 400 million snaps per day, Snapchat is one of the fastest-growing social networks. As you might already assume, 71% of Snapchat’s U.S. users fall into the 18 to 34 age range. Even if your audience doesn’t fall in that demographic, Snapchat is becoming a vital part of retail marketing strategies.

Brands and content creators are using Snapchat to produce daily stories that engage and excite their customers. Snapchat stories, which last only 24 hours, are a string of snaps used to create a video narrative.

Add IvystoneSocial on Snapchat

Add IvystoneSocial on Snapchat

 

Ivystone has jumped on this popular bandwagon and will be using Snapchat during our markets.
There are over 1 billion views of stories each day!

Here we are sharing ways to strengthen your retail business marketing using Snapchat.

Leveraging Video To Successfully Market Your Small Business

Using video marketing can boost your small business exposure in many ways.

Not only are videos a quick way to communicate information to your customers, they are immediately engaging and can be fun!  Feel free to get creative when making your marketing video and consider adding music to draw in your viewer.

Ivystone, a national Gift and Home sales and marketing agency creates unique videos simply by utilizing a variety of Gift and Home product images along w upbeat and captivating music to promote their national showrooms-featuring a variety of Ivystone vendors and products for the wholesale gift and home market.

View Ivystone’s summer 2016 Atlanta Showroom promotional video here.

Read more for 7 proven tips to use videos for your small business and go ahead and make some video fun!

13 Step Road Map to Maximize Business Results with Hyper-Local Marketing

It’s a no brainer. Local businesses that want to maximize their business results should implement hyper-local digital marketing.  Identify your most critical local markets, and deliver compelling localized  messaging, content, programs, offers, and calls to action based on the area or  neighborhood.

 

In this article, you’ll learn…

  • 13 tips for effective local marketing
  • How reaching a local audience can drive business results

More folks turn to the Internet than any other medium—including newspapers, TV, or word-of-mouth—for local information, according to the Pew Research Center. Furthermore, a whopping 83% of local search users contacted businesses offline, with 46% of consumers making contacts over the phone and 37% visiting the businesses in person, and half of all local business searchers eventually made purchases, according to TMP (15miles) and ComScore. Numbers like those demonstrate how digital marketing can take local businesses to a whole new level.

If you are a local business looking to grow (and who isn’t?), follow this digital road map and get hyper-local (with amazing results).

Read more here

 

Learn and Earn Word Of Mouth Marketing For Your Business

If you could master what has been identified as one of the most valuable forms of marketing, the one that most people trust above all others Word of Mouth Marketing 4and the one that is most likely to deliver sales for your company, would you instead choose to ignore it or leave it to chance?

Why would you simply choose to sit back and hope conversations will just happen organically about your brand? If you want to win the marketing race you need to unleash the power of word of mouth marketing (WOMM).

Most of the time, your talkers will come from the everyday actions you take to be a great business – they recommend their friends because they really like you. But sometimes you have to be more proactive about earning those talkers and getting them to spread the word.

Word of Mouth Marketing-GraphLook at the facts. According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising. In a recent study, 64% of marketing executives indicated that they believe word of mouth is the most effective form of  marketing.

According to Susanne Fanning, President of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA), the official trade association for the word of mouth and social media marketing industry, marketers need to focus on the three E’s: Engage, Equip, Empower.  If you can master these, you can become the most beloved and talked about product in your category, which will ultimately lead to increased sales. “We’ve seen a good WOMM campaign generate thousands of conversations, recommendations and triple sales in just a year (yes, even for the boring products).”

Engage—Give your fans the gift of you. Engage with them. Listen to what they are telling you. Be part of the conversation about your brand. Be a presence in your fans’ lives. @NikeSupport is a prime example of customer service done well. They constantly respond to followers on Twitter, whether it’s about their apparel, Fuel Band or other products. Every few minutes, you can watch them respond to someone new.

Equip—Give them reasons to talk. It can be amazing products, great service, insider knowledge, social elevation, incredible stories, unbelievable facts or even funny disclosures. It’s on you. It really depends on you understanding your consumers and what they like about you and providing whatever it is they need from you. Apple revolutionizes technological devices and delivers amazing products to its consumers, allowing them to naturally rave about the newest iPhone. Another area to excel in and that’s on the rise is social customer service.

Empower—Give consumers different ways to talk and share. Let them know that they are important to you and that sharing their opinions is important to you. Help them find ways to share within their circles and find ways to help move their conversations around. Lay’s is an excellent Word of Mouth Marketing 2example to highlight how they empowered their fans to “Do Us a Flavor,” and allow consumers to create a new flavor of potato chips to hit store shelves. Over 3.8 million submissions were sent in 2013 making it one of the biggest marketing campaigns for PepsiCo owned Frito-Lay.

As is typically in these times, technology has increased social connectivity making it easier for consumers to do your marketing for you. A post Word of Mouth Marketing 3that takes just a few minutes for a fan to write will be seen by hundreds of friends who trust them, and it can rapidly travel out to thousands more. Very well planned messages have been shared by millions within the span of days.

Look at the Epic Split video by Volvo featuring Jean-Claude Van Damme, the video was released on YouTube on November 14, and on the first day the film was viewed over 6.5 million times and shared over 32 thousand times. Then in four weeks it was shared over 6 million times across social networks. It quickly became the most shared film on YouTube. The clip has received extensive media coverage from all over the world as well, and has been the subject of approximately 20,000 editorial pieces online thus far.

It is simply not possible to achieve these kind of results without technology. The results are undeniable; consider the fact that those who read these posts as well as yours could potentially have hundreds of offline conversations with friends, families and acquaintances.

Engaing, Equipping and Empowering  your customers will fuel conversations and drive passionate Word of Mouth marketing that will make a huge difference for your brand and your sales.

Send us examples of your Word of Mouth achievments and be on the look out for Part 2 next week as we share these and more powerful WOMM success stories.

 

Suzanne Fanning is the President of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA), the official trade association for the word of mouth and social media marketing industry. Her social strategies have been featured in Advertising Age Magazine, Fast Company, Forbes Magazine, and PR Week.

 

Google Maps-A Big Deal for Small Business

Leverage Google Maps in a way that can benefit your small business.  Check out the obvious Google Maps function (Google Places), to the more creative ways to navigate your small business to bigger and better things -all within Google Maps functions.

3 Ways Small Businesses Can Dominate With Google Maps

 

google 3 Ways Small Businesses Can Dominate with Google Maps

Source: Business-Management-Degree.net

Best Practices for Exceptional Customer Service

Five stars service

A customer’s most important and lasting impression often comes from customer service—that personal contact with your company’s sales or other customer service personnel. Striving to make customers feel not just important but genuinely comfortable and willing to do repetitive business with you and your organization should be the goal to strive for at all times.

Each person’s idea of exceptional customer service will vary.  But most people agree that if the person serving you goes above and beyond what is normally expected with service, products, time and insights, that would be exceptional.       

With the move toward social media and the ability for customers to comment immediately on Twitter and Facebook; customer service is under the microscope at all times.  Albeit extremely important to have presence with websites and social media, the personal connection still reigns supreme.

Exceptional customer service will absolutely save your organization tons of costs because if done well you won’t have to fix problems or correct wrongs.  Setting out to achieve and sustain exceptional customer service has a huge added benefit of developing happy customers and retaining them for the long run.   Key to achieving this goal is to develop exceptional personnel who understand the importance of customer service to the overall business.  Focusing on empowering all personnel to serve the customer’s needs will never go out of style.

So it becomes clear that the more complex our world gets, the more value there is in authentic, clear, customer connections.  Ron Frank of IBM summarized it well, “As organizations become more intelligent, top CEOs are focused on drawing deep insights from customer data making it possible to understand customers and engage with them as individuals.  In parallel, some have leveraged more traditional and personal ways to connect with their customers and the teams that serve them to a larger benefit”.

How to Improve Your Customer Service Game in 2014- is worth the read- from Intuits Small Business Blog.

What is one small customer service choice you have taken that has seen notable results?

Going beyond what may normally be expected, here are additional posts to help serve you:

15 Customer Service Skills Every Worker Needs

10 Examples of Shockingly Excellent Customer Service

 

Are you on the Map for Small Business Saturday?

This year Small Business Saturday is Nov 30th and is known as the day we shop and support small business in a BIG way.  Plan ahead to attract more customers and make Small Business Saturday 2013 a memorable day to celebrate your business, your customers and your local community.

Nov 30th is now 4 weeks away so jump into your planning now to help make this Small Business Saturday a stellar success.  Here is a useful countdown planner.     ShopSmall_logo

Small Business Saturday is a day to rally people nationwide to get out and Shop Small so how about rallying your local community for this event?  Ignite your neighborhood and tell all the local businesses in your community to get ready for the big day.

For additional inspiration, check out what other communities have done for successful events focused on this important shopping day.

Need help with finding the right gift and home products for your retail store to get ready for Small Business Saturday?

Ivystone and Simblist can help!

Learn From the Experiences of Fellow Entrepreneurs

10 mindsets of successful entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs are all different. They all have a unique entrepreneur mindset that contributes to their success. Their mindset might have to do with their personality or even the field in which they have chosen to work.

When figuring out your own approach to the challenges of entrepreneurship, it can help to learn from the experiences of others.                                                                          Sharing Entrepreneurial Stories

Here are the experiences and entrepreneur mindset of 10 well-known entrepreneurs from a variety of different fields.   We hope that you will find something in each of their stories that will help you in your own entrepreneurial adventures.  From Small Business Trends (10/16/13)

How a Big Yellow Duck Delivers So Much Happiness

It’s a simple idea really…..take the convergence of 3 large rivers, the gateway of the city of Pittsburgh, and turn it into an art project representing a large bathtub.  All that was needed was a big yellow duck and the result was millions of people flocking to see the 40’ bobbing body of happiness delivering much more than anyone could have imagined.    Big Yellow Duck-Pittsburgh Point of 3 Rivers

 

Yes, I visited the duck one incredibly beautiful Sunday morning on my weekly 15 mile bike ride on the Pittsburgh bike trails.  I was thrilled to see the gigantic

MMScolieri on a Sunday morning bike ride w a big yellow duckbundle of sunshine along with the emotional enthusiasm in the enormous crowds delivered by the presence of “the big yellow duck”.  It was a unique bike ride that day and so is this equally happy and unique marketing perspective from the Jill Berardi Group.

       9 Marketing Musts Delivered by a Duck

 

Is Your Brand Forgettable?

Brand marketing can create a strong connection and value for your business audience.  When done correctly, the marketing of your brand will help you to really shine and stand out from your competitors. Shiny Golden Egg

Consider building a modern day brand so chock full of personality that people can’t help but love or at the very least, keep talking about.

Here are a few tips:

  • Focus on your strategic goals.  Define these goals, both short term and long term and use these as your roadmap. Are you looking to gain new customers?  Communicate more closely with existing customers?  Increase traffic in your store by 25%? Whatever the goal, define it!
  • Define your audience.  Find out where they spend their time and on what social media channels.  Then create powerful stories about your brand that connect with them.  Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine here.
  • Choose one social platform to start.  If you’re just getting started; get comfortable with one social tool and make it work for you and your audience. If strapped for time, seek out someone on your staff, friend or family to help get you started.  The topics to connect customers to your brand are practically endless; customer service, sales, product uses, customer favorites, best sellers, company history.  Think creatively to grab attention to your audience.
  • Expand and experiment If you are seeing connections and results, expand your reach, scaling it up as you find what works with your audience.
  • Be willing to modify your strategy.  Understand that marketing your brand takes time, twists and turns.  Be flexible and don’t be afraid to ditch a strategy or social media tool that just doesn’t produce results.  The important thing here is to not tackle so many channels at once that you have no concept of what is and is not working for your brand awareness.  When in doubt-see tip #1.

Don’t miss these branding lessons from 8 companies–bold, brash and brazen ideas that may help you amplify your own brand.

While they might not be for everyone, they definitely will give you a creative launch. 

Need help getting started or have outrageous brand success stories to share-let us hear from you.