Four Old School Marketing Ideas That Still Work

schoolbus

If you are like me, and have been doing marketing for more than 20 years, you have seen a lot of change in the field. Earlier in my career, I worked as an in-house marketing specialist for two different manufacturing companies that sold products through a network of distributors. As marketing vehicles evolved in response to emerging communication technology, I found that many of my more seasoned colleagues were reluctant to support changing existing advertising strategies. They often suggested that the new methods were just “not right for our business.”

By now, the most successful businesses with a goal of growing sales are embracing every new technology available to them. As it turns out, many of the tried and true marketing strategies of the pre-technology era are making the transition very well.
Here four familiar favorites that can be introduced to your online marketing tool box:

1. Direct Mail, meet Email Blasts
Email blasts are a highly effective replacement for printed, labeled, and stamped mailers. Like direct mail, email advertising is still all about list curation, compelling messaging, and a motivating call to action. Unlike direct mail, email offers quick delivery, is much less costly, and produces virtually no environmental waste. It is important, however, to resist the temptation to over-saturate. The key is to make your messages useful and anticipated, not an annoyance!

2. Newsletters, meet the Company Blog
Newsletters have always been a great way to stay in touch with customers to let them know about new products, business developments, and to simply get your business on their minds. As busy professionals focus more on email than post mail, the printed newsletter may not be as noticeable as it once was. While emailing a newsletter is possible, the most successful email messaging tends to be short and to the point. The best place to put your newsletter to work is in your company’s blog. A monthly or quarterly newsletter can be the source many weeks of interesting blog posts!

3. Sales Seminars, meet Video Conferences and Webinars
Whether you sell through sales reps or a distributor network, getting your team together for training and briefings is essential. Gathering your group can require a great deal of expense with travel and accommodations, and finding the best timing for availability of the participants can be a challenge. While a video conference or webinar may not replace a national sales conference, they can offer a highly affordable and effective way to supplement them. You can provide your team with information and training anytime, and they access it when they want.

4. Co-Op Advertising, meet Internet Marketing Programs
Co-op advertising has been a great way for small businesses to afford prime advertising in industry trade journals and publications. A larger supplier with an ample marketing budget can buy a full page ad with great positioning and offer their small business distributors the opportunity to be represented in the ad for a nominal charge. As many are now discovering, the co-op concept works nicely for online marketing as well, serving businesses who may not be able to afford to do effective internet marketing on their own. Upright clients in the tire industry have garnered tremendous success with our Upright Tire program. This internet marketing program has made professional, productive websites affordable to a multitude of small business owners.

Have other old school marketing ideas you’d like to apply to your online efforts? Give us a call to discuss your strategy!

Leverage Your Team Advantage

Rare is the business that enjoys the luxury of having no competition in their industry or market. In addition to selling your product or service, you need to offer some exclusive benefits or advantages buyers can enjoy by doing business with your company. Lower price, faster delivery, and better selection are all great selling advantages businesses can offer, but they are not necessarily unique.

The one thing every business offers that is positively unique is its team advantage. From the highest levels of management to the entry-level staff, your team represents your company, and is part of the package you are selling. No matter what the size, having a team of employees who are loyal, enthusiastic, and committed to the company’s success will greatly enhance the quality of your business, and subsequently increase sales.

An important foundational step in developing the exclusive advantage your team offers is making sure they understand the mission of your company. Having a better concept of the company goals and aspirations will help employees to better understand the role they play in achieving them. To support this, you can develop your mission statement into a simple and succinct mantra, which can be applied on all levels as a business philosophy.

The chart below provides ideas for developing and using your team advantage:

DEVELOP YOUR TEAM ADVANTAGE USE YOUR TEAM ADVANTAGE
Communicate with your team.

Keeping your employees informed about what is happening within the company and your market will make them feel more like a team rather than just hired help.

Personalize your image.

Mentioning your employees in your marketing material shows your prospects that they will be working with real people, rather than an anonymous, unaccountable website.

Appreciate your team.

Spotlight hard work and outstanding efforts. Let team members know when their contributions have resulted in a satisfied customer or gaining new business.

Brag about your employees.

Use your company blog and social media to tout the achievements of your workforce. A company that appreciates its employees is likely to appreciate its customers.

Get your team involved.

Provide opportunities for your employees to offer suggestions for process improvements, product ideas, or other input they may have regarding their role at the company.

Generate new marketing ideas.

Many of your employees interact with your customers, but in different ways than you do. They can offer insight into what your customers need and request.

To brain-storm additional marketing ideas or learn more about how we help can make your online marketing more effective, give us a call or fill out our contact form!

Responsive Design – Looking Great Wherever You Go

My dad has a Hawaiian shirt that looks really nice on him. He loves to wear this shirt for every outing, whether it’s a cook-out, a ball game or a trip to the zoo, because he knows he looks great in it. As long as the occasion is casual, it’s not a problem. But when Dad wants to sport his Polynesian print at a formal gathering, Mom has to intervene. She explains to him that no matter how great he looked at the neighbors’ BBQ, his favorite shirt simply will not be appropriate for their daughter’s wedding reception.

Unfortunately, with the diverse range of internet devices being used today, your website could have the same problem as my dad. Your current site design may look fantastic on a desktop, but when viewed on a smart phone, it may just look awkward and out of place.

Responsive design solves this dilemma. It’s like the ultimate, well-fitting shirt that looks appropriate for every occasion. Responsive design makes it possible for webmasters to develop one website that looks great across a wide range of devices. It responds to the user’s behavior and environment based on screen size, platform and orientation. Responsive design consists of a mix of flexible grids and layouts, images and an intelligent use of CSS media queries. When the website viewer moves from a desktop or laptop to tablet or cell phone, the responsive design website automatically adjusts to accommodate resolution, image size and scripting abilities. The technology automatically responds to user preference, eliminating the need for a different design for each new device on the market.

Images that respond to context are an integral element in responsive web design. This means that images serve at different resolutions, as dictated by screen size. The scaled images appear to change seamlessly through the use of developer tools and coding languages, which allow designs to look optimal in every context.

Upright has invested in understanding and utilizing the most current developments in responsive website design.  We are ready to assist you in developing a website design that will provide the best online representation of your business, wherever you go and whatever the occasion. Contact us to learn more.

The Power of Online Reviews

Reviews have always been a part of businesses – whether online, word of mouth, in a magazine, whatever it may be, they affect the way in which consumers make decisions.  Sites like Google, Yelp and other directories pride themselves on their reliable reviews that help users make the best purchasing assessment! Gaining reviews has now become a way of life.  And above all else, it’s a good business management practice to stress. Just recently, however, reviews really seem to be in the forefront of conversation- specifically online reviews. Small business owners need to make sure they’re taking advantage of all the different review options, making efforts to earn quality reviews, and communicating with the team about updating and managing comments.

We’ve written a blog on how to get reviews for your business and we’ve also written a blog on how to face the negative ones…. But do you know how important these reviews really are to your business success?

According to a new, 2014 study by BrightLocal, online reviews are more important than we could have ever imagined:

  • 88% of people have read reviews to the determine the quality of a local business
  • 72% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business even more
  • A whopping 88% say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
  • 72% of users will take an action after reading a positive review
  • Reliability, expertise and professionalism are the most important reputation traits for a local business

In addition, BrightLocal also focused on how the actual star rating on a review can play a very large part in what consumers think of your business:

Here are some key takeaways:

  • 20% more consumers are willing to look at a 4-star business over a 3-star one
  • More women will use a business with a 3-star rating or less than men will
  • 35-54 year olds are more likely to use a local business with a 2-star rating over any other age group

 

Helping Clients Conquer the World!

It’s not often that we like to brag on ourselves, or even share customer success stories, but this one is really pretty cool!

Upright met Southern Tank in August of 2007.  Southern Tank is a custom steel tank manufacturing company based in Owensboro, Kentucky.  They had always considered themselves a “regional” company  because, as Vice President and General Manager Phil Higdon once said “who is going to want to ship these big, heavy things around the country?”  As evidence of this limitation, it was noted at that time that Southern Tank had only sold and shipped into 9 states in the Midwest and the South.

Southern Tank did have a web presence but were only getting around 250 visits a month and very little in the way of solid leads from those visits.  They asked Upright to build them a new website that would better represent them as a company and drive more qualified traffic to their quote department.  Little did we know we would unleash the “Power of the Internet” upon the world!  Mhmwahhh…haaa…haaa!

It started out simply enough.  We designed a new website that highlighted their key products and offered opportunities for visitors to easily make contact with them to inquire about pricing, specifications and capabilities.  We optimized the site by removing the structural barriers that kept the top search engines from properly indexing the site, and we altered the site’s architecture, code and content to include all elements necessary to convince the search engines that the site was worthy of high rankings.

Fast forward to June of 2014; Southern Tank has now sold and shipped products into all 50 states (South Dakota was the last to come on board) and is averaging almost 3,500 visits per month to their website.  Said Phil Higdon (who actually looks nothing like Mike Myers alter ego by the way) “…for our fiscal year beginning November 1, 2013, internet sales from new and repeat customers has accounted for more than 28% of our incoming sales through today’s date.  Good job, guys…seriously, really good job!!”

It would be pretty hard to actually ship new tanks from Owensboro KY to every country on the planet, but give us a little time and we might just conquer the world together!

The Power of Online Reviews

The Power of Online Reviews

Reviews have always been a part of businesses – whether online, word of mouth, in a magazine, whatever it may be, they affect the way in which consumers make decisions.  Sites like Google, Yelp and other directories pride themselves on their reliable reviews that help users make the best purchasing assessment! Gaining reviews has now become a way of life.  And above all else, it’s a good business management practice to stress. Just recently, however, reviews really seem to be in the forefront of conversation- specifically online reviews. Small business owners need to make sure they’re taking advantage of all the different review options, making efforts to earn quality reviews, and communicating with the team about updating and managing comments.

We’ve written a blog on how to get reviews for your business and we’ve also written a blog on how to face the negative ones…. But do you know how important these reviews really are to your business success?

According to a new, 2014 study by BrightLocal, online reviews are more important than we could have ever imagined:

  • 88% of people have read reviews to the determine the quality of a local business
  • 72% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business even more
  • A whopping 88% say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
  • 72% of users will take an action after reading a positive review
  • Reliability, expertise and professionalism are the most important reputation traits for a local business

In addition, BrightLocal also focused on how the actual star rating on a review can play a very large part in what consumers think of your business:

Here are some key takeaways:

  • 20% more consumers are willing to look at a 4-star business over a 3-star one
  • More women will use a business with a 3-star rating or less than men will
  • 35-54 year olds are more likely to use a local business with a 2-star rating over any other age group

Stars

Helping Clients Conquer the World!

conquer the worldIt’s not often that we like to brag on ourselves, or even share customer success stories, but this one is really pretty cool!

Upright met Southern Tank in August of 2007.  Southern Tank is a custom steel tank manufacturing company based in Owensboro, Kentucky.  They had always considered themselves a “regional” company  because, as Vice President and General Manager Phil Higdon once said “who is going to want to ship these big, heavy things around the country?”  As evidence of this limitation, it was noted at that time that Southern Tank had only sold and shipped into 9 states in the Midwest and the South.

Southern Tank did have a web presence but were only getting around 250 visits a month and very little in the way of solid leads from those visits.  They asked Upright to build them a new website that would better represent them as a company and drive more qualified traffic to their quote department.  Little did we know we would unleash the “Power of the Internet” upon the world!  Mhmwahhh…haaa…haaa!

It started out simply enough.  We designed a new website that highlighted their key products and offered opportunities for visitors to easily make contact with them to inquire about pricing, specifications and capabilities.  We optimized the site by removing the structural barriers that kept the top search engines from properly indexing the site, and we altered the site’s architecture, code and content to include all elements necessary to convince the search engines that the site was worthy of high rankings.

Fast forward to June of 2014; Southern Tank has now sold and shipped products into all 50 states (South Dakota was the last to come on board) and is averaging almost 3,500 visits per month to their website.  Said Phil Higdon (who actually looks nothing like Mike Myers alter ego by the way) “…for our fiscal year beginning November 1, 2013, internet sales from new and repeat customers has accounted for more than 28% of our incoming sales through today’s date.  Good job, guys…seriously, really good job!!”

It would be pretty hard to actually ship new tanks from Owensboro KY to every country on the planet, but give us a little time and we might just conquer the world together!

Tracking URL or Not?

Tracking URLs allow you to determine the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns by enabling you to track click activity. Services like Google Shortener, let you paste in the long URL string and provide you with a short, ‘trackable’ URL. You now have a shortened link that’s more appealing to the eye and also helps you in situations when character counts are limited – like Twitter.

Is there a time to NOT use a tracking URL? That question is up to the marketing manager creating the content. There are a couple of ways we can look at this question. If you want to showcase the URL, then avoid using the tracking URL. For example, www.walkupright.com/blog may generate more clicks than the tracking URL, http://goo.gl/Ujodo0. With all of the spam and phishing issues we are having on the internet, the tracking URL may be intimidating for someone to click. Those in the online marketing industry may recognize goo.gl as a Google URL, bt.ly asBitly or owl.y as a Hootsuite URL that is shortened and know it is not as a threat. Someone who isn’t acclimated, however, might not have the same recognition and may not want to click on the shortened URL out of fear of the link being a virus.

At the end of the day, it is 100% up to the marketing manager or the person writing the content to decide which they think is best. When analyzing your data, don’t forget that if a user clicks on the URL multiple times from the same IP, this can dramatically skew your results!

Whatever it is that you are shortening, simply ask yourself if you want to expose the full URL or not. The decision should be based upon on the objectives the online marketing individual is trying to achieve. It is a good idea to refer to the drawing board and the basic goals of your online campaign to make the decision.

If you need assistance with using tracking URLs or using shortened URLs, give us a call!

How Does Google’s Pigeon Update Affect Your Site?

A couple weeks ago (on July 24th), Google pushed out a new, major update to their search algorithm titled the ‘Pigeon Update’.  This is part of a series of updates (most seem to start with a ‘p’) that are changing the way the search engine produces results.  The whole goal is to provide more useful and relevant results – and in this case, the core change is occurring in the local search rank algorithm!

Below is the major list of changes involved in this update.  But don’t panic, there are basic best practices you can follow so your business isn’t as affected!

  • Local listing packs will disappear for a large number of keywords
  • Local rankings are expected to depend more on website authority – i.e. domain age, backlinks, and all sorts of other ranking factors
  • Ranking boost is seen for Yelp and other prominent local directories – even business websites are being seen less and less, so make sure you’re listed in these directories

local

  • Local carousel remains – this is often shown for searches related to hotels and restaurants

Carousel

Though the changes seem to be quite considerable, the basic principles of SEO remain the same!  Here are some general recommendations for your business so that you’re able to keep up with these major updates:

  1. Have an individual Google+ Local page for your business
  2. Use proper categories for your Google+ local page
  3. Include city and state in your website’s title tags
  4. Add product/service keywords to your business title
  5. Have patience and test, test, test

For questions regarding the Pigeon update, please contact us!

Responsive Design – Looking Great Wherever You Go

My dad has a Hawaiian shirt that looks really nice on him. He loves to wear this shirt for every outing, whether it’s a cook-out, a ball game or a trip to the zoo, because he knows he looks great in it. As long as the occasion is casual, it’s not a problem. But when Dad wants to sport his Polynesian print at a formal gathering, Mom has to intervene. She explains to him that no matter how great he looked at the neighbors’ BBQ, his favorite shirt simply will not be appropriate for their daughter’s wedding reception.

Unfortunately, with the diverse range of internet devices being used today, your website could have the same problem as my dad. Your current site design may look fantastic on a desktop, but when viewed on a smart phone, it may just look awkward and out of place.

responsive designResponsive design solves this dilemma. It’s like the ultimate, well-fitting shirt that looks appropriate for every occasion. Responsive design makes it possible for webmasters to develop one website that looks great across a wide range of devices. It responds to the user’s behavior and environment based on screen size, platform and orientation. Responsive design consists of a mix of flexible grids and layouts, images and an intelligent use of CSS media queries. When the website viewer moves from a desktop or laptop to tablet or cell phone, the responsive design website automatically adjusts to accommodate resolution, image size and scripting abilities. The technology automatically responds to user preference, eliminating the need for a different design for each new device on the market.

Images that respond to context are an integral element in responsive web design. This means that images serve at different resolutions, as dictated by screen size. The scaled images appear to change seamlessly through the use of developer tools and coding languages, which allow designs to look optimal in every context.

Upright has invested in understanding and utilizing the most current developments in responsive website design.  We are ready to assist you in developing a website design that will provide the best online representation of your business, wherever you go and whatever the occasion. Contact us to learn more.