Capitalize on Your Success with Customer Case Studies

"Capitalize on Your Success with Customer Case Studies"
Listing success stories or case studies on your Web site is an excellent way to let prospects know that you have had great results with clients. These stories/studies also tell in greater detail exactly how you work with a client, which can give a prospect a better idea of what they too could expect and how to gain value from working with you.

Label them “Success Stories,” “Project Profiles” or “Customer Successes” on your Web site. You can write these cases yourself, interview the client, hire a writer, or have the client write something up. Use keywords in the stories to boost your search engine rankings. An audio interview is especially impressive. By the way, customer success stories are a supplement to testimonials, not a substitute.

Here are some examples of companies using Success Stories and Case Studies on their sites:

Novell Software company has a section on their site called Success Stories ~ Here’s an excerpt from one: “As a nationally ranked business school, Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business requires a state-of-the-art IT infrastructure. With Novell® Open Enterprise Server running SUSE® Linux Enterprise, the business school consolidated servers by 90 percent and cut implementation time for new applications by 50 percent. “To read the rest of this story visit: http://www.novell.com/success/georgetown_mcdonough.html.

See how Thunderbird School of Global Managment has helped clients address their customers’ challenges, allowing them to unlock and unleash their full global business potential in their Customer Success Stories Section of their Website.

Stewarts Signs (America’s Premier Sign Co.) has a section called Customer Success Stories and Stewarts Signs in the News. The first Story in this section talk about how a Church was demolished by Hurricane Rita but the sign was still there: “If you want to know the truth, I would have much rather lost the church sign than the roof”, exclaims Jo Ann Richards, property chairman of First Christian Church of hurricane-ravaged Port Arthur, Texas. “Standing inside our church the morning after, all we could see was sky”.

Amazon Herb Co. has testimonial and pictures of it’s clients. Here’s one: I love Pure Camu.™ I drank it one day when I had to rake leaves, but didn’t really feel up to it. I told myself I would do half the yard, and then finish the rest the next day. After drinking Pure Camu™, I raked the entire yard that afternoon. I was amazed how much energy I had!”

House Values is making good use of their customer successes with full-page stories and photos.

Use the testimonials given by your clients and customers and ask them to expand on their comments. Create a customer feedback form on your site or encourage them to email you when they want to share their stories of how your product helped them, changed their lives, made something better and more. Use excerpts of the stories for your testimonial section and the full version in your customer success stories section. Audio and video stories are especially powerful. Adding pictures increased the credibility and interest in the story by at least 50%.

Tell us how you use your customers successes to attract attention, prospects and close more sales.

Catalog Marketing Successes and Challenges

"Catalog Marketing Successes and Challenges"
A few years ago I attended an event of the Florida Direct Marketing Association (FDMA) Luncheon .  The topic ~ Catalog Marketing.  Leslie Linevsky, Co-Founder of Catalogs.com and Bonnie Levengood, Director of Marketing with 1-800-PetMeds were the speakers.

Leslie spoke about the history of catalogs.com, and their business model which is promoting catalogs online. For over a decade, Catalogs.com has been helping shoppers find and order the perfect catalogs for the products they want – all free of charge.

Their Mission Statement: Imagine a world where the only catalogs you received are the ones you requested.  Now imagine one starting place to find and preview the world’s best catalogs and either request the ones you want or shop at their online stores – plus find special savings offers too.

Leslie talked about the challenges, opportunities and pet peeves she has.  Some of the challenges were delivery of catalogs until they partnered with DHL to house and deliver every catalog ordered by their visitors.  And what makes Catalogs.com unique is their ability to capture the order, transmit it to DHL by midnight of the same day at which time DHL process the order the very next day! Their sign up process is also unique in that they pre-qualify prospects because they only get catalogs they request so catalog companies don’t mail thousands and even millions of catalogs to people who only end up tossing them into the round file. Most of the catalogs featured on Catalogs.com also provide great savings specials which are exclusive to shoppers of Catalogs.com.

Leslie also talked about their newest initiative which is OnlineCatalogs.com which allows visitors to peruse the catalogs online and then purchase on the spot. Leslie also spoke about some of her pet peeves in online marketing which included a. requiring a customer to register before being able to order, b) asking for the credit card or payment information before giving the total and c) not showing an item as “out of stock” before the order process – each of these increase abandonment of orders and decrease the confidence of the consumer.

Bonnie shared 1-800 Pet Meds experience implementing the “Worlds largest  1 to 1 personalization campaign” including the pros and cons of going to such lengths in personalizing 3 million individual catalogs.   She talked aobut how they personalized each piece with their customers names, the pet’s name and a photo which they put on the cover of each individual magazine at a cost of roughly 3 times that of traditional catalog marketing campaigns.  While it garnered them lots of publicity and an endearing rep among customers the bottom line is that it was cost prohibitive in terms of ROI.

Here are two recommendations regarding 1 to 1 customization including a) testing the campaign on a smaller basis, b) testing variables of each campaign such as placement of personalization – less personalization – use of photos, etc.

The other issue is the rising cost of printing and postage and forcing many catalogers to go to a smaller (slim jim) size to offset the rising costs.

And finally, get green and lean by:

  1. Implementing the slim jim catalog model and driving more sales to purchase online
  2. Create email marketing campaigns that drive traffic to your online catalog. And make sure your entire catalog of products is available for customers to  peruse and purchase via your website.
  3. When you must print, be environmentally conscientious using green materials and processes to lesson your carbon footprint on the planet.

Yes, Offline Marketing Does Still Work

"Yes, Offline Marketing Does Still Work"
Cost effective marketing plays a vital role in the success of any business enterprise. You can put your product out there without depleting your financial resources but still make a big impact in increasing awareness for your products. Most businesses are now dubious about the merits of traditional marketing because of the Internet Age. Here we will discuss the key points about why offline marketing is just as important for your small business  as it has been in the past.

IT’S A TRIED AND TESTED FORMULA

One good trick is to put ads in places more frequented by people. Handing out flyers and business cards in public places, or putting stickers on public transportation vehicles, creating bookmarks that show your product information and handing them out to your local library are all great ideas to increase your range. Doing freelance work also provides an opportunity to plug into your ad.

If you are a writer, you can write articles for magazine publications and newspapers and use the opportunity to include your website’s information. Using the art of sublimation to promote your URL is also a great trick to increase awareness. Printing your URL on birthday and holiday cards before you send them out is one good way of “sneaking in” your website information via casual correspondence. Overall, the trick is being receptive to avenues that can make the most impact upon marketing your products and services.

MARKET TARGETING IS EASY

Promoting your product to a wrong demographic is a waste of time and resources. It’s like parking your hotdog stand in a vegetarian convention. Your products and services should spark interest to certain clubs and organizations, so know your target market and assimilate yourself into them. A great deal of interaction with these groups can open up a world of opportunities to spread product information like a viral effect SUPPLEMENTING COVERAGE Even with the amount of internet users today, there are still people who would rather do their business in the real world.

That’s where offline marketing plays a major role – to make sure that your information is accessible to everybody. When you make sure that no leaves are unturned, your influence becomes more far reaching, and should spread like wildfire into all types of demographics.

OFFLINE ADS ARE PERPETUAL

The driving tool of what makes offline marketing work is its perpetuity. Your printed ad can be taken home, and rediscovered without the customer’s intent. They don’t have to sit in front of a computer and visit a website to be reminded of your product. An ad sticker will never be ignored when you put them in public bathrooms. Ads are all around you even when you just go through the normal routine of the day, so there’s no shortage of people that will take notice if you roll out ads in frequently visited locations.

IT’S THE REAL THING

Let’s admit it, online marketing is very efficient and has a broader reach in the whole spectrum of the market, but let’s not forget that people still go for things that are more tangible and personalized. After all, what you see on the computer screen are just light particles, and nothing beats the simple pleasure of getting convinced by an advertisement material in its purest form.

What is Your Business Brand’s Equity?

"What is Your Business Brand's Equity?"
Brand Equity Defined

Brand equity is a marketing term used to refer to the marketing impact of a given product in association with a brand name. It tries to examine how a given product will perform in the market if it did not have the privilege of that brand name. Therefore, the basis for brand equity and its impact on a business is based on the knowledge of the customer about that product. And yet, brand plays a vital role in helping build that knowledge and awareness, as well as the choices they make based on that knowledge.

Brand equity, then, reinforces the significance of a brand’s value and produce that positive type of recall in the mind of consumers. Marketing research has revealed that brand equity is one of the most important asset to the company.

Three Perspectives of Brand Equity

As an intangible asset, brand equity only gets its meaning out of the perceived quality and associations made by a consumer on a given product. Brand equity can be viewed in three different perspectives:

• Financial: One way to understand the value of brand equity is to calculate the premium that is placed on a product. To further understand, take for example two types of products: one that is of a recognized brand, and the other is unrecognized brand. Consumers are willing to pay a bigger amount for the branded product over those which they are unfamiliar with.

• Brand Extensions: When certain products attain a certain level of commercial success, most companies consider extending their line by introducing newer products under their brand. Because of the existing brand awareness, these companies will no longer invest on large advertising expenditures just to make that newly introduced product known.

• Consumer-based: The trust and attitude exhibited by a customer towards a given product is impacted by the associations they make with that brand. Oftentimes, these associations are a product of their own experience with using the brand. Therefore, actual experience plays a crucial role in the marketing strategy, especially in a developing brand.

Benefits of a Strong Brand Equity

Not all brand equity is positive, therefore most companies invest in building a strong brand equity. After all, it offers several benefits to the company. Below are just some of the helpful benefits that a company can derive of a good brand equity:

• Establishes a more reliable stream of income.

• By increasing brand equity, companies are also able to increase their profits through increased market share and premium pricing for less promotional costs.

• If you have established a good brand, then you can sell that brand name at a given price.

Managing Brand Equity

There are three stages involved in creating, building, and managing your company’s brand equity. They are as follows:

1.) Your first step involves the introduction of a product of a given brand into the market. You must establish a certain standard for that brand to be able to launch products in the future that will sell in the market. Your aim here is to produce a positive response from the consumer to build trust among consumers.

2.) Try to produce a brand that is unique and yet memorable. The attitude of your brand must be accessible to consumers and must also provide benefits to satisfy its users.

3.) Consistency is the key. Your message must be synchronized with your company’s overall image and reinforce the value espoused by your organization. This is one of the most effective ways to build a strong brand equity.

Small companies sometimes do not realize the value of their brand, the equity their good name is like money in the bank. Marketing a small business offline or online begins with building a brand.  Your small small business marketing efforts will pay off in the long run.

An “Old” School Marketing Method That Still Works

"An “Old” School Marketing Method That Still Works"
While the following is not a new idea, it’s one that’s been all but forgotten by many would-be marketers. After all, what does a new online marketer want NOW? Money. So what do they chase after for months on end, often with little or no results? Money. Much like demanding the stove give you heat before you put the wood in and light the fire, they are putting the cart before the horse when they expect to make money overnight.

If this sounds like it might be you, then please consider this “old school” idea that works most every time: Carefully choose your niche, find out exactly what your niche wants to know, and then provide them with that content. For free. By doing this, you’re gaining traffic, you’re building credibility, you’re forging alliances with other movers and shakers in your niche, and most of all you’re building a loyal following who look to you for help and advice.

Once you have all of this in place, then and ONLY THEN do you begin selling. Yes, I know this method isn’t popular, especially when you can dash off an email promoting the latest greatest product. But be sure to also devote time to providing really great content to your audience for free. And if you forget why you’re doing it, remember it’s because you’re:

1. Establishing yourself as an authority in your niche which…
2. Builds your credibility and makes it easy to…
3. Forge alliances with other experts in your field and…
4. Get traffic from their websites that they willingly send you for free.
5. And best of all, you get a long list of people who WANT to hear from you…
6. Who open your emails
7. And who act on your recommendations.