Posts Tagged ‘coupons’

Yes, Twitter Can Drive Sales For Your Company

July 30, 2010

by Doug Smith, President, The Woodhaven Group

Many if not most business owners I speak with do not see any value in using social media to help drive sales and cash flow.  The typical response I receive is that such sites as Facebook and Twitter are for teenagers to know what their friends are doing.

Well, tracking the activities of friends can be a reason to use social media.  However, there is a business use also and many companies are tapping into the potential that social media offers.

If you are still reluctant to use social media, then I would suggest testing with twitter.  It can be extremely low cost and it can be an opportunity to communicate time sensitive promotions that are  just for a few hours today or to link back to your business’s main site or blog.  Best of all, twitter is a tool to keep building a strong relationship with your customer by providing timely, relevant information for their use.  Here is a recent post by Jay Baer about Twitter where he touches on some pluses and minuses.  It is very good reading. Go to it right here.

Still not convinced it is for your company?

Here are some national and local companies using twitter to drive sales.  Do your own research and see if any of the tactics these businesses are using could be applicable to your company:

  • Home Depot:  read about how the customer care team accomodates customers here. 
  • Cafe Patachou:  read how this very successful local restaurent in Indianapolis receives feedback, gives out announcements of todays menu and links to local media. See it here.
  • OfficeMax:  this national chain of office supply stores does a good job promoting back to school as well as in store coupons. Read about it here. 
  • Kroger:  this grocery powerhouse uses twitter to pass on digital coupons. Best part is Kroger targets it to the local zip code. See the coupons here.   The Kroger twitter site is actually called Kroger Deals. No confusion about what is going on with this message.
  • Williams Sonoma:  this upscale kitchen store uses twitter to mention “tasting events” taking place and that there are only “2 hours left for free shipping.”  Good example of  using twitter for a time sensitive promotion.  Find it here.
  • Costco:  this big box retailer taps into twitter to let their customers in on current coupons to be used. They also ask straight up what their customers would like to see Costco doing more or less of. See it here. Great example of relationship building that is unique to twitter.
  • Birds Barbershop:  is twitter only for the big businesses? This Austin, Texas barbershop uses twitter to stay in touch with their clientele. Read about Birds if you are going to be in Austin and need a haircut.  Its right here
  • City Barbeque:  If I was hungry in Ohio, this restaurent would be hard to turn down after viewing this twitter site  where they advise that today is a good day to eat barbeque. You can get your barbeque fix right here.
  • Portland Oregon Farmers Market: probably one of the best farmers markets in the country uses twitter to promote their multiple locations. See more about them here.
  • Dairy Queen:  so you think your business is too small to use twitter. How about this Dairy Queen in Burton Michigan. If they can sell ice cream cones using twitter you can market your product. Read what they have to say here.   Hurry!  Only today you can get $1 off a waffle bowl if you call it “twitter bowl” instead. 
  • Dry Cleaners:  Dry Clean City in Charlotte, North Carolina where they ask on Twitter if your favorite dry cleaner is closer to your home or work. They also feature their $1.99 dry cleaning special.  See all about it here.
  • Penwell Insurance:  this little local insurance agency in Cicero, Indiana probably does the most effective job of using twitter as anyone. I am sure their Google ranking is soaring with all the links back to their web page. See more here.
  • Franchisees:  twitter can work for individual franchisees such as this one in Saratoga Springs New York of  Wild Birds Unlimited. The warmth of the owners comes across on the site. Learn more about them here.  If you go to the site don’t forget to list your top 10 favorite birds.

Social media and especially twitter needs to be a part of an intergrated internet marketing strategy for your company. A real strength of twitter is in realtionship building and the abilitiy to tie back to other channels of your marketing. How about tweeting to view our TV spot on the evening news tonight or stopping by our booth at the local Home Show? 

Sales, cash flow and the future of your business depends upon your ability to stay abreast of new marketing techniques as they come along.

Don’t get left behind.

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Increase Sales And Cash Flow With Crossmarketing Alliances

May 26, 2010

by Doug Smith, President, The Woodhaven Group

As a business you must increase sales while not overspending on marketing.  If this is done well, your company will realize more profit and an improved net worth.  The increase in cash flow will allow you to do such things as pay down debt, expand into other markets and contribute back to the community.

The challenge lies in the ability to effectively market your product or service by spending your available dollars wisely.  The marketing options are many.  Depending upon the target customer you may invest in TV, radio, newspaper, special events, trade shows, sponsorships, direct mail, or the many forms of internet marketing.  There are some companies that still telemarket, use billboards or even canvas door to door.  The form of marketing that worked last year may not work this year.  As a CEO  I knew the head of marketing had one of the toughest jobs in the company.

In spite of all the marketing channels available to a company I always thought there was one method that was extremely effective and underutilized.  Executed correctly the marketing cost could be extremely low.  I am talking about using crossmarketing alliances.  What is that?  It is where separate companies with different products market to the same customer together.  In the eyes of the customer there is synergy in the offering coming from the combined approach of the companies.  The customer perceives this combination as added value.

Confused?  Here is a simple example to illustrate a cross marketing alliance that works well.  Think of the bride and groom.  Now think of all the things that have to be coordinated for the wedding.  Imagine if the couple can receive a suggestion from the florist they like to use a specific bakery for the cake and then both companies suggest a reputable photographer.  This can continue with the tux or wedding dress store, limo service and even the location for the reception.  There might be discounts used for the referrals.  This approach works for both the business and the customer. The customer gets what they want and the money the business saves on marketing can increase cash flow and add to profit.  More sales, more cash, and more profit is always a good payoff for a winning marketing strategy.

How can separate companies market themselves to the same customer.  Here are a few ways:

  • Share the cost of direct mail or brochures where each business’s product or service is featured.
  • Hold events or shows together and invite the same targeted customer.  An example is a Bridal Fair.
  • Pass out coupon books with each company featured.
  • Display an ad , sign or presentation in each others business location.
  • Offer a bundled package of services or products for one price.
  • Write testimonials for each other.
  • Mention the other company on Twitter, Facebook, or in a blog post.

Those are just a few ideas.  The key is to think outside the box.  Not sure this approach is right for you?  Here are some other examples of companies that could benefit from crossmarketing services:

  1. Web designer, SEO agency, email service, copywriter, video production company.
  2. Painter, plumber, electrician, handyman, home cleaning service.
  3. Attorney, CPA, insurance agent.
  4. Veterinary, kennel, pet grooming, pet store
  5. Landscaper, lawncare company, deck company, tree service, fence company
  6. Auto repair, wrecker service, car rental, car wash.
  7. Dry cleaner, seamstress, shoe repair, fire & water restoration.   

I suggest you have your mangers brainstorm this topic at the end of your next management meeting. You may be surprised at some of the workable combinations they will discover.

Remember, the next time you want to save some marketing dollars and increase cash flow try using a crossmarketing alliance.