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Posts Tagged ‘marketing’

Email newsletters and you. A true story.

by Matt Adams

So often we all get busy, and our once monthly newsletter goes the way of quarterly, then yearly. It’s okay. Admitting you have done this is the first step to recovery. No judgment from us, we have the same issues. But lets talk about why email newsletters are important, and how you can best manage your newsletters.

So why should you send an email to your customers / supporters / members?

In the world of social media, its easy to see email as outdated or obsolete. Email, especially HTML email, receives a bad rap in general, especially from web designers. For some, it has become a synonym for spam, thanks to the very real problem of mass unsolicited sending. Email done right, on the other hand, is a powerful tool that can produce real value for both the sender and recipient.

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Free Marketing Opportunities

by Matt Adams

Grumpy, scared people miss out on the best marketing opportunities.

Down the street from my house is a delicious little bakery; fresh doughnuts, pastries and breads every morning. Across the street from this bustling little place are two nameless businesses and a therapeutic massage clinic. During the busy mornings you can’t find parking in front of the bakery. The clinic and nameless business are not yet hitting their stride so they have ample parking. BUT these 3 businesses have a huge NO PARKING sign in their lot for any patrons of businesses other than theirs. If you dare park there as I do, you risk a tongue lashing and a possible tow. The only thing I every remember about their businesses is their hostility towards the parking space thieves. If I needed the service I would easily drive 30 minutes or more before getting my clinical massages at that business. We have all experienced this before. Hopefully, we are not those kinds of organizational leaders.

Think creatively with me for a moment —
What if those 3 businesses saw their parking spaces as a potential audience?

What if they put kind notes on my car? Placed a coupon my windshield? (I can’t prevent them, I am in their spaces after all.) What if they invited me in to look around as part of a parking space trade? What if they had a doughnut morning in their lot in cooperation with the bakery? What if they did advertising over at the bakery in cooperation for opening up morning parking spaces? The ideas could just keep flowing but you get the point. The 3 grumpy businesses are missing a positive marketing opportunity.

Unfortunately, we may also be missing these same kinds of opportunities. So, who is around you that is successful? How can you intertwine their success with yours? What positive marketing opportunities exist for you that you are missing out on that may very well be right in front of your face? Who is coming by your business but leaving with a sour impression before they even purchase? How do you reach them?

Creative questions and identifying opportunities make for thriving businesses.

2 Twitter Truths

by Matt Adams

There is a lot of debate about the value of Facebook & Twitter. Here are two things that can make them worth some of your time.

1. Follow people, businesses or organizations that matter to you. Identify those who are in your field or in your area of interests. People are watching who you follow.

2. Add value to the people who follow you. If you run a business or lead an organization make sure that you are adding value when you contribute something on twitter. Don’t say things here that you wouldn’t say in a relevant business meeting. Please, don’t tell everyone about your morning breakfast from your work account.

For your customers

by Matt Adams

It’s really easy to lose sight of WHO your website is for. We all know it is for our customers. In fact, I would argue it is for the people who aren’t our customers yet but who we really want to be our customers. TRUTH is that we are all guilty, us included, of designing our sites (and other marketing materials) and writing our content the way we know how to. Worse yet we are all are guilty of designing and writing for our personal tastes and styles not for what would be most effective in reaching new costumers.

We all need to stop doing that and we need to start zeroing in on our target audiences.

I read this article about a business owner who has over 2 million monthly subscription customers. He spends a majority of his time writing, editing, re-writing and fine-tuning their website and marketing content. The E-myth (great classic book about small business) teaches us that we need work on our businesses not just in our businesses.

So here are some simple challenges to all of us:

  • Study your front page / landing page – Is it geared for new customers?
  • Look at your language – Is it clear? Is it proper? Does it have your customer in mind? Are you too wordy?
  • Does your website navigate easily for the most important information?
  • Do you have a clear call to action?
  • Have you any idea how much traffic your site is getting and other important statistics? (Link it up with Google analytics)
  • Spend 1-5 hours EVERY WEEK fine-tuning your messaging on your site – Learn how to make it the powerful tool that it can be for placing you first in your market category.

[Ryan also writes for RedBikeLeader.com - engaging & developing young leaders]

Impressions: Firsts

by Matt Adams

In this hyper-connected era people come to your web page long before they come to your restaurant, your store, your church, your meeting or employ your services. What does your web site say about you? Does it connect with your current followers or is it aimed at reaching people who aren’t yet in your loop of influence? Does your site clearly and quickly convey your core message? Does your site reflect your style, your values or your unique position? These are all very important factors to consider because whether or not you have intentionally designed your site with these things in mind, these are the types of things that people are inferring about you based on the experience on your web site.

Huge reminder = People DO make decisions based on your web presence, fair or not.

Some quick and easy things tim make improvements:

- Determine your audience – Identify your target audience and always have them in mind when doing anything on your website.

- Clean up your content - Keep it straight forward and easy to understand. Most people say to much and don’t get to the facts and basics fast enough.

- Less is more – If you don’t have high level of graphic design abilities or insights then certainly error on the side of ‘less’. Keep your site clean, fresh and under control. Don’t over use graphics (especially ones you copied & pasted), fonts, font colors and amateur photos.

Bacon? What’s Bacon have to do with Factor 1?

by Matt Adams

We like to make sweet apps that help you out.
So today we made up some Bacon. Wait. What? Bacon?

email bacon

We are excited to publicly launch our new email marketing service called Bacon. Why Bacon you ask? Because Bacon is always good. and it makes everything better.

Let’s think about it:
Burgers = good; bacon burgers = better.
Lettuce tomato Sandwich = boring; BLT = tasty.
Eggs and pancakes = good breakfast; Bacon, Eggs and Pancakes = now we’re talkin’.
pigs = ehh; Bacon = yes!

see. I told you.

So go, check out Bacon
EmailBacon.com

emailbacon

Maricopa Chamber of Commerce

by Matt Adams

We are super excited to launch this site. It’s the all new site for our local Maricopa Chamber of Commerce. Factor 1 (specifically I, Matt Adams), have been heavily involved with the chamber marketing board for a number of years now. We have aided in the planning, creation, and execution of several programs, events, and marketing pieces. All aimed at increasing local business exposure.

This new site will tie in all our past work, and goals. We have found that the user experience of a large site is key to the sites success. With the user in mind, we created this site.

Maricopa chamber

It was an amazing site to plan out, and work on. We spent the last few months really refining the user flow, menus, and having fun with great photography.

Terri Kingery, Chamber Director had this to say:

Matt Adams and his staff have done a wonderful job in ensuring the transition process from our old website to our new one was seamless and error free.  Their knowledge of social media and the incorporation of Twitter on our home page has, in my opinion, helped increase our traffic by 30%.  I would recommend them without hesitation to any Chamber, or business looking to redesign their website.

Visit the Chamber website:

MaricopaChamber.com

Trying too hard

by Matt Adams

This is what trying too hard looks like.

voltage

the new terrible chevy volt website

So clearly Chevy is trying their hand at social media integration. Lets count up all the “apps” shall we.

  1. videos
  2. facebook link
  3. ohh i can create my chevy account
  4. a foum
  5. a blog
  6. photo feed
  7. news
  8. polls
  9. events
  10. twitter tweets
  11. and a site share stuff at the bottom

Wow. all on the home page. This site does NOTHING to promote what the volt is, why its cool, or why i should care. Instead it blasts me with its attempts to get me to engage. Unfortunately I dont really want to subscribe to the blog, be their friend on twitter, because I dont yet care about the car, or the site.

For me, the home page is overwhelming, and over the top. I appreciate the video, i think videos are cool. And a blog / news updates are good. The layout and presentation is so far behind the times. We used to see sites like this in the late 90’s.

The volt is a cool car, and should really be impressive for chevy to launch. this site is more in the way of other marketing efforts than anything.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll offer my solution. What are your thoughts? Am I being too harsh here?

Zune marketing the car lease model

by Matt Adams

83249-zune

What do you think of the new Microsoft Zune ad? They say it costs $30,000 to fill an ipod. Check it out.

Do you believe this doom and gloom story? Are you now thinking that an ipod is a bad idea and you should “rent” your music for $15 a month?

Here is my issue. Nothing to do with the apple fanboy in me, but I tend to call shenanigans on any advertising that is unrealistic and confusing (yes, I sit at home and call out these ads for the new windows laptop hunter ads, most ads for beauty products, ads for hyundai saying its better than BMW, etc. Just ask my wife.)

  1. most people own cds, already completing some of their library.
  2. once you buy a song, you own it. for life. until you delete it or toss out that CD.
  3. who really ever fills up an ipod?
  4. the people who CAN fill up an ipod, usually “borrow” (read: steal) music.
  5. renting with the Zune pass is really throwing $15 a month away. Stop paying, and your music is gone. All of it.

So really, this ad is comparing apples to oranges. well, apples to microsofts if you want to be funny like I do.

This ad is like saying it costs $30,000 to buy a small car, and drive it for 3 years. but instead you can rent one for $350 a month. Ohh wait, that’s a lease. So maybe, just maybe, this Zune ad is genius?

Any thoughts? Does this ad make you want to toss your ipod and use a Zune pass?

Paying customers to take a product?

by Matt Adams

Yep. Hyundai is paying people to drive their cars

picture-1

Now I am not really a big fan of these cars. I usually hear about the loans outlasting the car. It can’t feel good to be paying $250 – $350 a month on a car that is falling apart.

But is this the new way to sell cars? Or is this just the little guy trying to make some waves in the pond?

Personally, and I dont want to sound like a snob here, but they would need to pay me double that, for a longer period of time to drive one. Otherwise I’ll stick to my used 03 and 04 toyotas with 80k+ miles each.

twitter tip #3

by Matt Adams

In Continuing our series on twitter tips, I present tip #3

Avoid twittering just for the sake of twittering

Nothing to say today? this week? Thats okay.

twitter tip #2

by Matt Adams

In Continuing our series on twitter tips, I present tip #2

Would you call a customer to tell them this tweet? even email it to them?

If not, dont tweet it. 

Posting relevant, important, news is good. Silly is okay some times if it fits your company culture. Just dont tweet when you used the restroom, something you ate, what you did off your to do list, etc.

Twitter tips

by Matt Adams

In a new series, I’d like to share tips on using twitter effectively as an organization. Small, short and easy to swallow tips on twitter. 

the first tips to kick off the series:

DO NOT feed your twitter posts into your blog.
People reading your blog dont care to see your @replies. 

DO feed your blog posts INTO twitter. 

How would you fix it: Sprint/nextel

by Matt Adams

So a few weeks ago i posted some questions regarding the newspaper industry, and how to fix it. I think I have some solid ideas, that I will post later. But that post got me thinking. A new series of blog posts, on what would you do to fix a company or industry. Could be a fun exercise in creativity. 

So today I ask: If Sprint came to you for marketing / business help,

How would you fix Sprint?

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why does QUICK & EASY feel so good?

by Matt Adams

Whenever something takes longer than the predetermined time I have alloted for it, I can feel my satisfaction and enjoyment waning. On the other hand some things in life need to be extended: mountain bike riding, a very nice meal with my wife, a good fight scene in the movie and a much needed Sunday afternoon nap. But, finding a critical piece of information or receiving a needed service are not among those items.

Unashamedly, I like to fly Southwest Airlines. Online check-in is quick and easy (although I do have a suggestion about how to make it quicker) and boarding is a breeze. Today I found myself riding ‘twinkie’ on a very full flight to Atlanta via Delta. I don’t love Delta. The online check-in was very SLOW, requiring me to visit 3 more screens than S.W. and also much less user friendly. The ‘boarding’ process had 7 zones, people still mysteriously crowd up to get on and amazingly they found a way for it to take longer getting on. The beverages cost money PLUS they are slow in coming, the airplane & internal tv’s are OLD and even though I could pick my seat, I still have to ride in the middle cause that is all that was left.

I expound on all of this because when it comes to websites, service companies, responses to needs in the world, finding vital or common information, telephone & email interactions… ALL OF THEM should be quick and easy. WHY? Because people just like me and you have already experienced that they can be, so now we won’t find it reasonable or enjoyable to experience anything contrary to that.

This recent clip from Conan illustrates perfectly the modern mindset of consumers — love it or not.

genius desperation

by Matt Adams

this commercial has a GREAT spin on name recognition, humor with the obvious and not taking yourself too seriously – who won’t remember this the next time they are needing some quick money for their gold? (how many of us can really  relate to that anyway?)

update me… please!

by Matt Adams

Some things are just screaming for an update… like the time share that I am in right now in Orlando.

It was new & “in” when Miami vice was having it’s inaugural years.  The problem that this place faces is that it spent a TON of money on permanent fixtures that had a shelf life of less than 3 years. The developers didn’t really think through their design & development strategy very well. What really needed to happen BEFORE they built was to come up with a plan of how to update in the future without having to rip the whole thing back down the frame and start all over again.

You have probably noticed this design flaw in other places as well. You see it in restaurants and stores. You also see it in magazines & clothing lines. You also notice it in companies who build their identity around a very specific niche look and sell out to it so far that they can’t possibly adapt to the future.

So here are some good challenges for us all with design:

  • How do we develop an unique market place identity that is pliable for the future and also stands apart now?
  • What things must be kept as central in a corporate identity and what things are changeable?
  • Are there foundations for building a ‘brand’ that can make it universal in natural?

[ LEADERSHIP ] why should you hire a professional design & marketing company?

by Matt Adams

Designers & idea people are NOTORIOUS for dreaming and promising far more than they deliver on.

9 times out of 10 you can completely forget about these creatives delivering your product on time.

Communication, clear, detailed and consistent, will be missing almost every time.

So, why like an addiction, in this era of highly competitive and open business do they continue to survive? The reasons a too numerous to list. The main 2 would be relationships and lack of knowledge on another option. Like anything else you go to people you know and when you make a bad choice it is probably because you didn’t know that there were other options.

When you hire a creative firm, you should expect & demand leadership. You are paying for the service! Ownership, detailed communication, problem solving, delivery of all the pieces… these are the types of things that you should come to rely upon.

Also, never pay ANYONE in full before they deliver the project. You should expet to pay deposits BUT you should also expect to see a finished project BEFORE anyone gets paid.

LEADERSHIP – expect it from your service provider, even if they are an artist!

[ CREATIVITY ] Why should you hire a professional design & web company?

by Matt Adams

I hate to be the guy to tell you this, but YOUR ideas are getting stale.

OK, maybe not all of them, but that is what most people in your office, market place or in your store are probably thinking. Even if you have a creative and interesting idea to help you gain new customers or have greater impact in communicating your message, the likelihood is slim that you have the time or the creative resources to pull it off. YOU are all alone on this front. There is a reason that vibrant, compelling and creative movies are the result of teams. Sure, there is a mad genius or two with a vision, BUT it takes a team to hone and harness that full potential of a great creative idea.

So, I ask you this very important question…

WHO is on your creative marketing team?

Who are the people sitting around the table that want to throw random ideas out, laugh, think, research and dream about what your organization could be? Who are the mad, sick, talented and fresh artists that are developing your designs, web site, ads and essence of your product or message? Are you communicating precisely and in such a way that it captures the most important seconds of your audience’s attention and imagination?

Your potential in the market place or in the non-profit sector is limited by the team you have surrounded yourself with to “get the message out”. If you are doing it by yourself, I will be the one to tell you that you are in serious trouble. So, the challenge is, why haven’t you engaged more people beyond yourself yet? Where have you gone looking for creatives that ‘get’ your industry and also ‘get’ the power of creative messaging? Go on, get started. Find them. Start here. Ask around. Risk investing a little time and a little cash in getting the product or message that you believe in out to the people who really need or want it.

Thoughts on interaction design

by Matt Adams

So I was watching this interesting video on the importance of interaction design in products. (found via forty)

In the video they had this sketch.

Here they are describing the process a customer takes as a relationship.

So the M is marketing. Getting the customer to the point of purchase (P). The area after that is the Interaction Design. Most businesses and organizations focus on the M.

So here is where the illustration / video left off. Why is interaction design important? The customer already paid right, so who cares. Wrong. Great interaction design, will feed the marketing side. Look at products with good interaction design, in relation to their marketing.

Examples that come to mind for me: Apple, Nintendo WII, In-n-Out Burgers, and toyota Prius. All barely have to market at all. They have created such a great user experience or product, that word of mouth marketing is free and in abundance.

So the moral of my story (as it often is), Focus on your end product, the interaction design, the customers experience, and the marketing will be cheap(er) and easy.

iphone 3g – who is getting one? & the beauty of apple marketing

by Matt Adams

So maybe I am an apple geek, or their marketing department knows how to get in my head, but I still find myself wanting (not by any means needing) an iphone. What is it about apple that does it? Its not that the phone is that much better than my Moto q, Maybe its faster, syncs better, and has some cooler toys. But in the end its still a phone.

Once my contract with verizon (which i really like their service) I may toy with the idea of switching more. So I guess right now I am glad I am stuck in a contract and cant be in line for the iphone. Otherwise Apple’s grip on me may have put me in line.

So who is going for the new iphone?

On another note. We all should look at what apple has done here. They made a PDA / music player / phone. Big deal right. Motorola, Samsung, & Blackberry have been doing this for years. Here is the business strategy take away homework: Its HOW apple does it. They set the bar high. They do it better than anyone else.

So sure there are other churches, web designers, widget makers, plumbers in your direct competition. But If you can do the same task as the other guy, but sexier, smoother, faster, more powerful, and your customers will flock to you.

White noise on the web

by Matt Adams

My Friend Seth (he may not know we are friends yet) posted a great thought on the ratio of Signal to noise.

This really rings true being a web designer. We are often asked about creating secondary, and tertiary (and beyond) websites, just to link back to the main site. People tend to believe that throwing more billboards up will increase sales or traffic.

I think sometimes, these people need to look within, and see how they can better improve their company, product, service, or customer care. Then see what that does to sales. But thats the hard way. Its easier to throw money and marketing at the problem to see what tricks customers into the door.