Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Marketing to The Elites

I recently read that “the top 100 CEOs” of major American-owned companies have more wealth than the bottom 25% of all USA households. If I figure correctly, that is approximately 32 million households!!
With this kind of information, I further looked at wealth statistics beyond these 100 individuals and, yes, not only is the 1/10th of 1% true, but it’s the top 3% to 5% who also have a lot of wealth and the way they use it is in terms of “exclusivity.”

One example of exclusivity marketing is the Norwegian cruise line which has created “The HAVEN,” a ship within a ship. This ship within a ship is an exclusive area for about 275 elite guests who enjoy not only a concierge and 24-hour butler service, but also a private pool, sun deck, and restaurant, creating an oasis free from the “regular crowds” that are elsewhere to be found on the same cruise ship.

According to Norwegian’s CEO, Kevin Sheehan, “it was always the intention of the Haven to be an exclusively designed area, away from the masses and to afford them of the opportunity to be away from the masses.”

Sounds pretty snobby, but not since the gilded age of Teddy Roosevelt and JP Morgan has there been such economic and social stratification that has rigidly separated the classes. Probably not since the Titanic!

With the advent (and success) of many new hybrid centers or BEC’s, the bowling industry has been inching towards more “exclusivity” and the market is reacting.  There are many reports of celebrities, sports stars, politicians, business people and others of the elite class are seeking these types of bowling amenities.

But what if you don’t have a boutique or a hybrid or an exclusive area? What do you do?
I think you can offer special amenities, without spending lots of money, such as:

1.    A “brand” for the “exclusive” area
2.    Valet parking
3.    Special plated and catered meals (presentation is everything so if you’re not an F&B specialist, get some help here
4.    A separate sound proof screen or sound proof drape to create exclusivity for lanes 1 to 8 or 25 to 32
5.    Separate staff to cater to the “elites” drink and food preferences.
6.    Bowling shirts they can wear (clean them after every use!!)
7.    New socks
8.    Private bartender and portable drink station
9.    Rewire your sound system so these 8 lanes can get their own music. This might be the most expensive part of the total investment, but worth it
10. Offer options like
a.    Private DJ
b.    Karaoke
c.    MC for crazy bowl contests
d.    Other entertainment such as caricaturists or magicians that might be wanted

There is a market, I believe, in every town where certain people want to be able to take advantages of exclusive offers. It’s the “elite” segment and they are out there...and as in JP Morgan’s era, their belief is: “money is no object when it comes to satisfying their wants.”

It’s an opportunity…just needs some of your attention!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Part # 3: The Perfect Facebook Post

 This is the 3rd and last part of how to create “The perfect Facebook post”
·      A Perfect Facebook Post is Part of a Consistent Sharing Strategy
AgoraPulse.com analyzed over 8,000 facebook posts to identify how brands, companies were affected by a drop in “organic” (vs paid reach).  They came away with some intriguing stats (more than 70 percent of pages had a 30 percent or more decline in organic reach) and some best practices from the handful of pages that are succeeding.

In particular, they focused on four pages that had found success and the four characteristics that each page had in common:
1.    They target an audience with a strong passion
2.    They publish very good content (at least, very good for their target audience)
3.    They publish very consistently (at least once a day, often more)
4.    They get ALOT of shares (thanks to the 3 points above), and shares are what offers the highest level of “viral” visibility for a page’s content.
Let’s assume you have an audience that is passionate about your page (which is why they became fans, right?). Let’s also assume that you are publishing good content.
What’s the key third ingredient?

The successful pages in this study posted at least once a day, creating an expectation among its fans of consistent, quality content. There are several ways of staying on schedule with your Facebook posts; set up a content calendar or sign up for a free scheduler like Buffer. Then start filling your queue with quality content.

·      A Perfect Facebook Post Includes a Newsworthy Element (optional)
This last point might not apply to some brands whose content and industry don’t lend itself well to timeliness. Still …If there’s ever a way to slip in a newsworthy angle to your Facebook post, do so.
Facebook’s latest tweaks to its News Feed algorithm give a slight boost to timely, trending topics. We’ve heard feedback that there are some instances where a post from a friend or a Page you are connected to is only interesting at a specific moment, for example when you are both watching the same sports game, or talking about the season premiere of a popular TV show.

Facebook is making this update in two ways:
1.    Factoring in trending topics
2.    Looking at when people like or comment on a post
The first element is related to Facebook’s “trending” section of the site, which identifies topics and conversations that are popular among users.

The second element factors in the rate at which users are liking or commenting on a post. Facebook currently looks at the total number of likes and comments as a factor in whether or not to display a post in the News Feed. With this latest update, another consideration will be when those likes and comments occur.
So what does your perfect Facebook post look like?

Hopefully, these best practices have given you some ideas on what to test with your Facebook marketing strategy.
·       Do you get more engagement when you share an optimized link or a photo?
·       What is your perfect Facebook character count?
·       Can you get more reach by posting at night and on the weekends?
I’d love to hear how these tests go for you and if you’ve found perfect practices for your Facebook page already. Please do share in the comments!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Something Important To SAY.

This is a story about a man who, when he was 5 years old, found out that he was different from other children. He discovered that every time he tried to talk because his words wouldn’t come out or if they came out at all, they were in the form of a “stutter” or a “stammer”. He became very sad because many other children made fun of him. His parents took him to speech pathologists, hypnotists, and special classes. Nothing helped.

And the bullying only got worse. The little boy became angry and he got into lots of fights, all through elementary school, junior high school, and high school. It seemed that it was an unusual day when he didn’t end up in the principal’s office; even the principal didn’t understand why the boy was fighting because the little boy, then the preteen and then the teenager couldn’t talk well enough to explain it.  Eventually, the boy became very lonely and took to his books, his music, and many sports; (he even became  a junior boxer) where he didn’t have to talk.

There were still one or two friends that liked him and didn’t make fun of him, as so many others did, so he was able to socialize a little, but there was always someone who thought his malady was “funny” and made fun of him.  Some nights, the boy would go to bed and pray to God that he wouldn’t wake up in the morning so he wouldn’t have to endure another day of feeling “different.”

The teenager went to college and graduate school and noticed something wonderful. Not everyone made fun of him, but would give him a chance to get his words out.  Soon the man became more confident and his speech patterns began to change and when he got his first job, his new employer hired him BECAUSE of his speech and how brave he thought he was.

The boy, now a man was able to meet a fine woman, get married, have children and his confidence and career rocketed skyward. The man became a VP of a Fortune 200 company and then, after some years, struck out on his own and formed his own marketing consulting company where he helped many clients to reach their dreams. And he became known as a speechmaker, a seminar giver and an innovative presenter of ideas. "God does have a sense of humor", the boy - now the man - would often SAY.

But that's not the end of the story.

Many years later he became involved with a group called S.A.Y., The Stuttering Asociation for the Young.  And now that same boy, who is all grown up, is asking you to support this organization that does so much to help children who stutter.

That little boy grew up to be me. Fred Kaplowitz.

Over 70 million people stutter on a daily basis, including 5% of all children. Young people who stutter often face unimaginable fear and cruelty from a world that doesn’t understand them. Over time, they may recoil from the world, silencing themselves to hide their stutter, embarrassment and shame. Young people who stutter may also feel incredibly isolated and alone, and many face daily ridicule, teasing and bullying.
The Stuttering Association for the Young is a non-profit 501(c)(3) and since 2001, SAY has offered comprehensive, innovative programs that address the physical, social and emotional impacts of stuttering.

For 14 years, so many incredible children have come to our programs in despair. We have been lifted by their courage and have witnessed the transformation that occurs when children who stutter develop the self-confidence, lasting friendships and support they need to express themselves fully and follow their dream.

We believe that every young person who stutters has a voice that matters and it is a voice that deserves to be heard.

When you support SAY, you make anything possible in the life of a child who stutters. You help us continue to offer Camp SAY Summer Camp, Confident Voices After-School & Weekend programs, Speech Therapy, SAY: Storytellers and more, and help ensure that SAY can provide financial aid to families-in-need, so that all children have access to our innovative programming. This year alone, SAY will award more than $400,000 in financial aid and to date, no child has been turned away due to a family’s inability to pay.

Please help me to raise money for this organization that does so much to help kids who stutter; to make sure that, even if they have to deal with the shame, embarrassment and humility of other kids, they’re not alone…and will not have to do as I did, and pray to God every night to take them because they can’t bear it any longer.

If you go to www.SAY.org and hit the donate button. I know you’ll do the right thing.
No matter the dollar amount you give, thank you so much, in advance, for your contribution.

Fred Kaplowitz, President, Kaploe Marketing Group                                                                                                                     

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Will You Fear The Summer?

Lots of us have had pretty good winters, especially since we were going against last year’s snow days and very cold temps that kept people at home. But now we are faced with summer, a time we all know too well.

Many operators will go back to the drawing board and do the same old thing and get about the same number of league bowlers…or less.

Other operators will institute all new programs, rally the troops and put out tons of “sell, sell, and sell” of email and Facebook posts and get about the same number as last year…maybe more.

Yet there will be others that will examine the past and realize that it’s is a great time for exciting open play programs for kids, families, teens, young adults and even some 40+ types and will rally the alley to focus on these programs as well as have the leagues that are coming back.

And finally there will be some that will take what leagues they can, but really focus on company indoor picnics and fundraisers and do more income. And they will do it with an integrated digital footprint that brings synergy to their social media campaign as well as maybe bringing back some old school media as well. 

"Why", you may be saying, "will this strategy work?"                                                          
Because of one simple fact.
There are a lot more companies and fundraising organizations out there than there are summer league bowlers.  And they are looking for new ways to boost morale or do team building or raise money or rally the troops. A larger potential market always equals a bigger opportunity…if you have the right products.  And no doubt you probably do. Or if you do not, you can manufacture new ones just by asking some former corporate and find raising customers what they would want. Call them. It's that easy.

So, what do you want to do this summer?

Sunday, March 13, 2016

The Proverbial Fly on the Wall

“I’d love to be the fly on the wall in that office today,” we may find ourselves sometimes saying, especially when we want to know what someone is thinking, but that knowledge is something we are not privy too or it is something that is too impolitic to ask, so we don’t and just fantasize about that fly. 

On the wall. With his ears wide open. Just listening.

We think if we know what someone is talking about that we know what they are thinking. 

Unfortunately, what people say, often, doesn’t equate to what they mean.

Better to watch what they actually do then to sit in the office and surmise what they will do.

Please, go watch a kid’s birthday party unfold, today, and let me know what you saw, please.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Six (6) Actions You Can Take Right Now to Increase Revenue in the Very Near Future

Fall league season still has a few months to go. In some places, there are just six weeks left. With that in mind, what are you planning to do now to increase your business over the next 4 to 6 months?

Here are 6 actions you can take now to enjoy real revenue growth in the future.

1.    You know about summer league planning, so I won’t bore you with the details here, just a quick reminder to make sure that you try a few new concepts that are more fun, exponentially different and entertaining, as well as being attractive to new open play bowlers for no more than 8 weeks.

2.     Build a Spring Fling Company party program. Send out March 21st to any company or organization that you have done business with over the past 18 months.  Offer a discounted party for just $10 to $15 including bowling, shoe rentals, chips and soft drinks.  Use these parties as a way to get new data names an opportunity to sell a “league of your own” or “EOW leagues.”

3.    In addition to winding up the season, start to think about your digital media schedule including, but not limited to the following: Easter or Spring break, Summer Weekdays after 9pm, Summer Weekend Days, Kids Bowl Free sign ups as well as family pass sales,  Memorial day and 4th of July BVL Teachers and Students end of year bowling parties, fund-raiser opportunities, Cosmic bowling, New Leagues for Summer, 8 for 8 or 10 for 10 leagues, Summer Birthday party special offers, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day.

4.    When will the emails be delivered? How many emails will you send and when? What will your content be?  Who is responsible for writing this content? How will you augment your email campaign with Facebook posts, Twitter and Instagram?  Will you develop an Excel “marketing Grid with WEEKS across the top and PROGRAMS down the left side

5.    Have you contacted local day camps, day care centers, and church youth groups for field trips, group outings and rainy day programs? What is your 1 game or two game prices? What about food options? What about an incentive for coming to the center multiple times?  How can you get the parent’s names (of the children) for future retargeting relative to adult child programs?
6.    Continually look for “non-traditional” revenue streams such as “Summer Fundraisers” as well as themed program nights like “Saturday Summer Party Nights,” “Summer Weekday Nights”, etc. For each of these themed nights, you have to create VALUE, FUN, and ENTERTAINMENT that is accompanied by a compelling offer to motivate the target to Taking ACTION.

a.    One example could be “craft beer Fridays.  Every Friday is craft beer night and for $X the customer gets bowling and three “tastes” (2 oz. each or less) of three different craft beers…presented by a local brewery.

b.    Another example might be “Baker Buddy Nights”; bowl as a team and win weekly fun prizes like t-shirts, beads, sunglasses, summer flip flops, ball caps, etc. Of course, you build the cost of these products into the price of “the giveaways.”

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Two Options for the 21st Century Small(er) Business

If you own a small(er) business, and most of us do, you have probably managed your business like we all have. Except for managers and mechanics, we hire “industrialized workers”. 

That is we hire cogs in the system; people who want to be told what to do, who are hired and trained to obey. These are jobs that get outsourced or people who work cheap. This team needs a manager, a manager patient enough to instruct, teach and measure.

The Downside: Sometimes you, the boss, are also busy getting new business, inventing new products and generally working outside the organization. As a result, you’re hoping that you have built the kind of organization where people will do as they are told, do it on time and do it in a professional, courteous and kindly manner. 

Because if you’re not the leader of this type of organization and haven’t built it in such a manner (you inherited it and never bothered to change it), you will be disappointed, over and over.

But there are a couple of other ways to run a “small business.”

One Other Way Is to Look at Employees as “Being Equals”. That is an organization staffed   with people who have particular skills, marketing and digital marketing, finance, personnel/training and operations. Now I’m not saying that you need four people for this, but I am saying you have four different functions that need to be covered, perhaps by 3 existing people. 

You could say that the Beatles were organized as "Being Equals". To make this happen, each person who takes on the function has to be really talented in that field, gifted and unique; he or she has to feel that his/her function are essential to the ongoing success of the business

The Downside: Sometimes this team of equals may forget that their job is ALSO coordination and communication with other team members and just because each of them have unique skills, becoming a prima donna is a trap that is far too easy for one or some of them to fall into.

The Second Way To Look At Employees Is “Your Merry Band of Men and Women.” This is a group of people with similar goals, perceptions and approaches to business. As a result, you can say to them, “use your best judgement" and they go off and do the right thing. 99% of the time

As a quick sidebar, Nordstrom’s, has this one line in their employee policy manual, “Use Your Best Judgement".  They can do that because they hire people who have been screened to match the organization’s goals, approaches and perceptions.

The Downside: This isn’t cheap or easy. You literally have to re-evaluate your whole staff and decide what your goals, approach and perceptions are and who matches or doesn’t match with what you want.  If you don’t spend the money to recruit, hire and train, then you will be disappointed when they “use their best judgement.”

The point is:  You do have options to organize and manage your business in the 21st century to meet a new set of employee and consumer criteria.  

In fact, there are many options. 
These are just two of them. 

What would you do or want to do?  
Let me know, please, and I’ll publish it!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

7 Tips for Creating a Functional Email Experience

Chad White is one of the all-time gurus of email marketing Chad is the Research Director at Litmus and the author of Email Marketing Rules and thousands of articles and posts about email marketing.

His research and commentary have appeared in more than 100 publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Advertising Age, Adweek, Fortune, and MarketWatch.  

He recently wrote an article entitled called 7 Tips for creating a Functional Email and I wanted to pass on some of his insights as well as a few “KaploeKomments” interwoven in the mix.

Expectations are steadily rising in the inbox, and everyone agrees that sending more relevant messages is the key to staying in subscribers’ good graces. However, “relevance” is often talked about in vague, mystical terms or discussed within the narrow context of company-specific examples.

While relevance is indeed in the eye of the beholder, that doesn’t mean it’s indescribable or immeasurable. Relevance is about fulfilling all four levels of the Hierarchy of Subscriber Needs—that is, creating a subscriber experience that is:
1.             Respectful - the bottom tier used to email permission, activate accounts or customers and to set expectations, measured by open rate
2.             Functional - can be viewed acriss multiple platforms, measured by number of clicks to site
3.             Valuable - for testing, for segmenting, personalization and communicating live content (podcats, webinars, etc.) measured by number of conversions to a sale or a customer
4.             Remarkable - for exceptional deals, captivating content, measured by the number of forwards and social shares

 Whether you’re meeting each of these needs can be gauged by measuring common email activities: opens, clicks, conversions, and forwards.

Delivering relevant messages is a key to email marketing success. While relevance is typically talked about in terms of targeting and personalization, relevance is much bigger than content and targeting.

The Hierarchy of Subscriber Needs (above), provides a big picture view of relevance and illustrates the need for marketers to create a subscriber experience that is Respectful, Functional, Valuable, and Remarkable.

While marketers must respect their subscribers’ wishes by only emailing to those that have opted-in to receive communications, your emails can’t be valuable or remarkable if they are not first functional.

Functional email experiences are key for your subscribers to easily read and interact with your campaigns. If your emails aren’t functional, you run the serious risk becoming irrelevant to your subscribers.

Functionality is all about quality assurance. Or put another way, it’s about eliminating friction that can degrade the effectiveness of your messaging, erode the subscriber experience, and ultimately damage your brand image.

To create functional email experiences, ensure that:
1.    Your emails display appropriately across mobile, web, and desktop applications that your subscribers primarily use. You can use Litmus’ Email Analytics.  to determine where your subscribers are most frequently opening your emails. Then, use Email Previews to verify that your emails are displaying as intended in those email clients.

 2. Text is legible, particularly in the uncontrolled lighting environments where mobile rendering often takes place. For example, if you don’t use at least 13 pt. font sizes, Apple will auto-adjust anything under that size, often breaking navigation bars.

3.  Links are spaced far enough apart so they can be accurately clicked with a mouse or, more importantly, tapped with a finger.

4.  The content is clear and free of errors. Read—and re-read—your emails before sending. Also, it never hurts to have a second or third set of eyes look over it, as it’s more difficult for you to catch errors if you wrote the text.

5.  Any special email functionality has a good fallback for when that functionality isn’t supported by a particular email client. Using advanced techniques, like HTML5 or CSS3, should have proper fallbacks in place.

6.  The links in your emails take subscribers to the intended destination. You can use Link Check to ensure your links are working, being tracked, and going where you intended.

7.  Email landing pages greet subscribers with wording and images from the email so they know they’ve arrived at the right place to continue the interaction.
Creating a functional email experience requires a sustained effort because of the patchwork and non-standardized environment that is today's email inboxes. So what works in Apple Mail may not work in Outlook 365 or Gmail.

The email environment is further complicated by the number of devices that can now read emails—which currently include desktops, laptops, tablets, ebook readers, phablets, smartphones, and the Apple Watch, which recognizes a new version of HTML, watch for a new version ofHTML.

And thanks to the Internet of Things, email reading devices may eventually include your car, refrigerator, toothbrush, and light bulbs. (I’m exaggerating, of course, but time will tell just how much I’m exaggerating.)

You may not understand some of the technical stuff in this article, just understand the concept of functional emails and the need to measure how they are doing.  After all, emails are still the choice of communication among 72% of the population. So if you want more information on this or just want to get it done, hand it off to some of your “twentysomethings” or “thirtysomethings”.  They get it…and you will too.

Patience. Patience. Patience.

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Essential Elements of "Content" That Effectively Sells Your Product

1.   “Content” is King. Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and engaging information to attract, acquire and engage a clearly defined audience with the objective of driving a profitable customer transaction.”  That’s the long version.

2.   The short version is, “all of the ways we communicate online…Website, Blurbs, Email, Newsletters, and Social."

3.   60% of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading their custom content.

4.   70% of consumers prefer to know a company via their articles rather than their advertisements.

5.   Google reads your content and based on its findings ranks you higher on its search engine.

6.   Your content doesn’t have to mimic William Shakespeare; a paragraph coupled with a picture is enough to get results.

7.   You should distribute and communicate information whenever:

a.   You have a special event and after the event as well.
b.   Launch a coupon special offer (accompanies the lead information article and comes at the middle or end of the information.
c.    Volunteer or contribute something to the community.
d.   Launch a new “product.”
e.   There are many other industry specific or local content ideas that will work as well.

8.   Now that you have all that "content", what are you going to do with it?  We’re going to address only One Method in this blog. There are at least 5 other ways that we will address in future blogs.

9.   Emails. 145 billion emails are sent every day. And email is required for all online activities. Bottom line: email works.

10.  Emails let you market to existing customers which is 8X more effective than trying to acquire new ones.

11.  88% of people used an email coupon or discount in the past year.

12.  Email still rules direct marketing. When you absolutely need it to be read,(by people who have given you permission to send them information and not by someone whose email you just “happened” to get!) email is the most effective method. It blends the best of direct marketing with the speed and power of online marketing. One click and your message is sent to everyone on your list.

13.  When sending an email, the key points are:

a.  The subject line The should convince viewers to read the message.
b.   Your logo is prominently displayed so everyone who reads it knows it is from your company.
c.    specific call to action (CTA) that asks the person to do something, even if it is to like you on Facebook or follow you on Twitter or add you to their Google+ circles or print out the coupon.
d.   Beautiful imagery placed at the top of the email. Left, right or center or taking the whole page, it doesn’t matter. Just be sure to have a “professional” image. Please no cartoons, unless you own Disneyland!

Datasource: On-Line Report, Localvox, April 2014, DMA

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

One mid season league tip guaranteed to get you more sign ups

We all know how difficult it is, these days, to get new people to join a league, regardless of the length of the season, although shorter is better. You know the reasons. We have spoken of this before.

However, like other decisions we make, we don't mind making a decision, we just don't want to make a bad one. 

A bad one is one that costs time, money, status or the "loss" of something that is of value.

To get more sign ups, simply promise a "guarantee." Yup, a guarantee. 

"We guarantee that you will have so much fun that, after the first week, if you're not happy we will give you your money back. Guaranteed"

if you're concerned about losing money, think about increasing your 8-week league to 9 weeks or your 12 week league to 13 weeks.

You might even pick up some additional revenue. 

After all, not everyone will stop after the first week.  In fact, experience tells us that less than 4% will ask for their money back.

In that way, you can look someone in the eye and say, "Susie, why not join the "women bowling with wine program. Try it the first week. If you're not happy, I will refund all of your bowling leagues.  What do you have to lose?"

"Nothing", says Susie. "Nothing at all."

Saturday, January 23, 2016

5 Questions You Need to Ask About Your Business Today.

While most of the Northeast is being bombarded with snow, Marie and I were fortunate enough to plan a three-day sojourn to Puerto Rico about 2 months ago, never realizing that we would be missing the snow storm of the century.  With more than 25 inches of snow already having already fallen, we are hoping that our flight will be canceled.

Unfortunately, hope is not a strategy and if we wanted to stay longer we should have planned it. Alas, we did not plan for that and will be on a plane tomorrow in the late afternoon or maybe it will get delayed. I suspect the latter.

But where does that leave us.  It leaves us with asking some important questions about our business and our plan.

Here are 5 questions to find out if we are planning to do work that matters.
  1. What are you doing that is difficult vs hoping someone will give you an easy solution?
  2. What do people say when they talk about your center?  How much time have you spent today building your brand?  Does anyone care about your  business as much as you do?  And if not, why not
  3. What are you trying to change and who are you changing it for. Often, I speak with operators who love the idea we suggested, but freely admit that it may be difficult to control.  If control is your mission and not trying to offer more valuable products to your customers and prospects, then why don't you have a job as an auditor somewhere else where you can check and control other people's work as opposed to doing the hard work necessary to be the best?
  4. Can you visualize what that change would be, really see it in your mind's eye and be able to translate your vision to your staff so they can see what the goal is supposed to be?
  5. If you stopped delivering your product, would anybody miss it or would they just pick up and go somewhere else?  I'm really asking: Is your product and service combination remarkable, unmistakably different and would it be missed terribly by the people who already patronize your business?
Please answer these questions, if you can, and if you cannot then it certainly is a symptom of other issues; issues that you may not recognize right now, but issues that, over time. will most likely impact your business. 

As Larry, the Cable Guy, says: "Get 'Er Done."

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

What You May Be Hiding.

Your prospects are hiding in plain sight from you. Even your customers are hiding from you. Know why? Maybe it is because you have not fully committed yourself to the gathering, managing, marketing, and re marketing to people who like your product.

Instead, you are sending out Facebook posts and email posts as if you expected everyone to buy your "sale" item.

Ever wonder how many people open your digital communications? Ever wonder how many people click over to your landing page (What's a landing page, you may ask?. we'll answer that in a minute)

The reality is, if I can be so bold this brisk  morning, you may be subconsciously hiding from taking responsibility for the necessary marketing changes you must make because:  you don't get it; there's nobody to do it and you need reassurance on how to do it.  All viable answers...but not rationale.

You built a business, sweated you're "you know what off" and now you could be avoiding things that you don't have to fear anymore

So don’t avoid it.
Come out of hiding to find those customers and prospects

And  look in the hiding places. There right there in plain sight.

p.s. A landing page is a page that the customer lands on after he clicks a link in your email that specifically relates to the topic you are discussing. It doesn’t just take him/her to your website; it takes them to the specific topic

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Every Story Can Tell And Sell

A reader writes about mt last blog pertaining to telling a story. Here's what he had to say: 

"Wow Fred. Like you suggested, I put out a Facebook post today telling a story for the first time.  I have always done what most people have done just post basically ads of specials and deals.  With the story type, I have twice as many shares and likes as usual."

Nick, Cedar Lanes, Weed, CA

It's not unusual. People respond to stories because they are hard-wired for it. Every great movie or play has three acts. In fact, the very first stories our parents told us were nursery rhymes that started with "once upon a time," which set the stage for the story, introduced the main characters and began to establish the "tensions", which was the basis for the story. 

In Act II, the tension built and one or all of the main characters was in danger or was feeling very conflicted or hatched a plot to take advantage of another character. (The twists on this basic theme are almost infinite. Just pick up any compendium of short stories and see for yourself.)

In Act III, the hero came to the rescue or a situation was created where the characters in danger were rescued.

Now, can you tell a story about bowling like that?  Simply paint a picture of your product about what they are feeling and then translate it into words.

How about this short nursery rhyme you could send your target audience; adding a lot more specifics, of course :-)

Once upon a time, there was a family named Jones.  Ms. Jones was a single Mom and her two children, Jimmy and Jenny were 8years old and 6 years old respectively.  Both went to the same elementary school, and having to drop off both children at the same school was so very convenient for her, which made MS Jones life a bit easier. After all, her position as an Advertising Executive at BIG CITY Digital Marketing Inc. was stressful enough. 

One day Jimmy and Jenny came home from school and told Ms. Jones that they were going to be off tomorrow and that school was closed for a "Teacher Review Day."  Looking at her schedule, Ms. Jones saw that she had a very light work day calendar and decided that she would take the day off and spend some time with her children; something she did way too rarely.

She began to think of her options. "We could go to the mall", she thought, "but the kids would get bored too soon".  "How about a movie?" she said out loud. "No", she said, "we wouldn't be able to talk at all and I want to spend time with them and talk, not just stare at a movie. They do too much of that already," she said to herself.

Just then Jenny came in and said, "I know Mom, let's go bowling. My friend, Sarah, and her folks are going to the bowling center in Middleville. Let's meet them there."  Ms. Jones, wide-eyed, said, "Bowling?  I haven't been bowling in years and the last time I went, well..." as her voice trailed off.

"No Mom", said Jenny, "this place is cool. Come on, let's go."

So off went the Jones' family to meet Sarah's family at Middleville Bowling Center and boy was Ms, Jones surprised when she opened the front door of the bowling center.  Bright new carpet, lighting, welcoming hosts - who even helped her figure out the automatic scorers - clean restrooms, bowling balls that fit and food that was just oh so tasty.  She didn't expect this at all!!! Even the music was crisp and clear and age appropriate.  Best of all, she watched as her kids and their friends just laughed and laughed and had a wonderful time.

The best news was that when it came time to pay, it was a whole lot less than she expected and as she walked out the door with each kid in hand, she said to herself, "now that was a great value. I am going to do that again with them.  Maybe even have Jimmy's next birthday party there."  

"Totally great time, eh kids?", she said to her two children, who just smiled, squeezed her hand in agreement and gave her big hugs.

It was a great day and, and that night as Ms. Jones lay her head on the pillow to go to sleep, she said, "Thank you Middleville Bowl.  It was a great time with my kids. I almost forgot how much fun bowling could be."

Now if you wrote a story like this, albeit in a much-shortened version, don't you think your readers would relate to it more, especially if you sent this email to all the women in your database between 25 and 44.

Give it a try and tell a story that sells - without selling - and don't forget to add a coupon at the end as well to spur their interest to take action.

The End.