Posts Tagged ‘internet’

Use Google TV Ads To Build Brand And Increase Cash Flow

July 16, 2010

by Doug Smith, President, The Woodhaven Group

As a small business owner or CEO you do not have the luxury of wasting the cash flow of your business while trying to build your company’s brand and increase sales.

One of the quickest ways to blow cash and profit is to invest too many dollars in the wrong marketing channels.

Most business owners have been turned off by TV because of the big ongoing expense and long lead time to produce and schedule a spot.  However, the biggest complaint I have always heard is the inability to truly measure the results of a specific TV spot.

Most small businesses that have included the Internet as part of a well executed  integrated marketing strategy  know about Google’s successful AdWords program.  What you may not realize is that for about the last 2 years Google has been incorporating the mechanics of the AdWords program into purchasing TV spots.

As a small business owner you can find programs on Cable TV and bid on specific spots on those shows.  By using keywords similar to those used in AdWords Campaigns, your company can target programs and times that work best for your marketing strategy.  Best of all, you can measure the results afterwards.

To find out more go to Google TV Ads here.

Successful marketing is all about testing concepts, measuring results, making adjustments and testing again.

Whether you want to build brand or develop a top-notch direct response program, I suggest your company test Google TV ads.

Leverage your knowledge and experience with Google AdWords to become more productive with your TV budget.

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Will Telecommuting Increase Business Cash Flow ?

June 24, 2010

by Doug Smith, President, The Woodhaven Group

It seems like business owners and CEOs wake up everyday trying to find a new way to increase business cash flow, productivity and sales.

A tool being used more frequently these days to achieve those goals is telecommuting. 

Telecommuting is the process of an employee working somewhere other than at the office.  Usually this means the employee is working from home.  The increased utilization of the Internet has allowed this alternative workplace to become much more popular.  For many businesses it has turned out to be a win-win situation for both the employer and employee.  The telecommuting employee is typically referred to as a teleworker.

Is it something your company should be doing?

Most researchers and business consultants will advise you that it is the right thing for your company to do.

My answer to that question is that yes, teleworkers are going to become a larger percent of the workforce in the future and your company needs to include them as a part of your employee mix.  However, for the program to be successful, your management team must do their homework first or the concept could fail.  There are benefits and concerns that must be addressed.  Here are just a few of them:

Benefits:

  1. Improved Productivity:  There are university, corporate and government studies that show the teleworker operating out of their home is a more productive employee than the employee in the office.  Reasons often given are fewer interruptions, less stress, and a fresher employee ready to work due to not needing to deal with the issues of commuting  to the office. This may be true but, frankly, I am not sure how much more productive the employee working from home really is. There are distractions at home also.  Laureen Miles Brunelli had interesting comments on this subject in a 2009 blog post on About.com  You can read Laureen’s blog post here.
  2. Less Office  Space Needed:  This can be a real cash flow savings for the company.  Less space needs to be leased, no utility or phone cost, and office and workstations can be eliminated.  Those are all real measurable savings.
  3. Flex Time For the Employee:  A real benefit for the teleworker is the opportunity to utilize flextime in their day.  The day can be broken up allowing the teleworker to take time to address home and family issues and still get the job done.
  4. Can Reach High Quality Candidates:  I have seen individuals with advanced degrees who, due to family commitments, have to stay at home.  Yet they still want to realize their professional ambitions.  If they were required to come to an office this high quality candidate would be lost to the company.
  5. Can Utilize More Part Time Employees:  Depending upon the scope of work, the teleworker may not need to be a full-time employee.  For instance, two 20 hour part-time data entry workers might be the best solution for both the company and the stay at home employee.
  6. Opportunity To Employ Handicapped and Retired Workers:  There are some excellent handicapped workers and retirees who choose not to work in an office environment.  They become a real asset to the company working out of their home office.
  7. Improved Morale:  Studies have shown that teleworkers have  higher morale  than those in the office environment resulting in less turnover.  Not having to commute to and from work would be a morale booster by itself to many workers.
  8. Bad Weather Is a Nonissue:  No problem with snowstorms.  While the regular office may be closed for the day, the telecommuting employee carries on as if nothing happened.
  9. Geographic Location Is Not a Problem:  Working remotely allows the company to hire the best candidate regardless of where they reside.  I once hired a telecommuting employee from 600 miles away because she was the best candidate available.  Also, if the spouse is relocated to another city, your company’s teleworker can follow the spouse and continue on as if no move occurred.  

Concerns:

  1. Lack of Social Interaction:  This might be the biggest concern.  The teleworker operating from home does not participate in the “water cooler” conversations or have the opportunity to have a lively discussion at break time with others about the ball game on TV last night.  There must be a process in place to engage the work at home employee if they are the type that requires a lot of social interaction.  A behavioral analyses of the telecommuting candidate might be a good idea to use during the hiring process.
  2. Can the Worker Stay Focused:  Is the  teleworker self disciplined, organized and have the ability to manage their day?  If not, the productivity issue becomes a concern not a benefit.
  3. Is There Buyin From the Manager:  A work at home employee has to be managed differently than the one down the hall from the manager.  Goal setting with specific measurable results and deadlines is critical.  Managing to results is the way to make the teleworker accountable.
  4. Could There Be a Culture Problem:  Not all jobs are a good fit for the telecommuting program.  If there are employees in the office that perceive the teleworker as a slacker that does not pull their weight, then the productivity concern might shift to those employed in the office.
  5. Promotion May Not Be An Option:  If the employee wants to move quickly up in the organization, then working from home may not give them the opportunity to develop and show off their people management skills.  A manager career path training program might necessitate the employee only being in an office environment.
  6. Security Can Be a Problem:  If the teleworker has access to the company database and confidential documents, it is imperative that steps are in place to protect these valuable assets of the company.  A disgruntled employee working remotely can do serious damage.
  7. Are There Savings In Office Equipment:  If the company reimburses the teleworker for a computer, fax, printer and other office needs then how much savings were actually realized?  In some companies the teleworker uses their own home computer with no reimbursement.
  8. Overtime Can Be An Issue:  A happy productive at home employee can easily surpass 40 hours per week.  While managing to results is good, the company still must be in compliance with all labor laws.  This includes not only overtime but also making sure workmens compensation is paid. 

Incorporating telecommuting into your employee strategy can be a real source of additional business cash flow.

It is just important to do your due diligence to assure yourself that the program will be the success that you expect it to be.

14 Reasons A Company Should Use Internet Marketing To Increase Sales And Business Cash Flow

June 22, 2010

by Doug Smith, President, The Woodhaven Group

I envy the manager of today that is  just graduating from business school.  They have a tool available to them that I wished that I had for most of my 30 years as a CEO.  That tool is the Internet.  I can only imagine how this productive tool for generating sales will evolve over time.

It is an exciting time to be the Director of Marketing of any organization.  If your mission is to build brand, generate leads, expand a relationship with your customer, or simply surpass a sales plan, then the Internet must be part of an integrated marketing communications strategy.

For you business owners still not sure whether the Internet is worth spending your company’s marketing dollars this way, then here are a few thoughts of mine on why the Internet needs to be a part of your future:

  1. Pay for Performance:  As a CEO nothing gets better than this.  Using pay-per-click advertising that is  correctly executed allows your company to only pay if a prospect clicks on your ad.  Compare that to a TV spot on the evening news.  You pay for that spot whether your prospect is watching or not.  It’s the same with the newspaper.  Regardless of the location of the ad, you will be writing a check to the newspaper gods even if your prospect is on vacation and did not read the paper that day.  By the way, I predict that all digital newspaper sites will eventually go to pay for performance advertising.
  2. 24 Hour Marketing:  With a website, blog or video on YouTube the Internet offers an around the clock opportunity to deliver your message.  The prospect can log on when they want and you know your message will be delivered.  Compare this to event marketing or a showroom with limited hours, or a radio spot that is only for 60 seconds.  You get more bang for your buck.
  3. Results Can Be Measured:  How many readers really saw the newspaper ad?  How many listeners really heard your radio spot?  How many visitors to a trade show really walked down the aisle of your exhibit?  With Google analytics (read more here about Google)  your company can track how many visitors came to your website, how  many seconds or minutes they stayed, what percent were repeat visitors and on and on.  With analytics for the Internet you will know what pages were read and what pages were not visited at all.  You can even determine what part of the page was viewed.  With good timely accurate information, the Marketing Manager can then make the Internet investment more productive than what is happening with your non-Internet marketing today.
  4. Used To Build Database:  By using such tools as white papers and giveaways, your company can build a database of interested prospects from your website  to then establish a relationship with over time.  This beats buying a list tied to some demographic sampling that maybe could care less who your company is.
  5. Email Marketing:  This is possibly the highest return on investment outside of word of mouth.  For pennies a business can send enewsletters to a pre-qualified database that you generated.  The enewsletters can be segmented based upon the information the prospect wanted so only relevant content needs to be delivered.  The Marketing Manager can judge the performance of this tool by measuring how many readers opened the email and read it.  Email analytics can also tell what day of the week and what hour of the day is best to send the enewsletter.  Probably the most important aspect of email marketing is allowing the company to build a relationship with the prospect or existing customer.  An effective email marketing campaign provides information and a solution to problems of the reader.  It is not just used to deliver a call to action for a promotion.  For more information on effective email marketing go to the website of Exacttarget right here.
  6. Can Reach a Younger Customer:  Instead of hoping a younger demographic comes to your website, you can go where they are.  This can be done by advertising on sites most frequently visited by a young prospect group.  For instance, your company might advertise to young males on the ESPN site or to young female entrepreneurs on a women’s business blog.
  7. You Can Target Market to Almost Anyone:  By utilizing keywords in your organic or pay-per-click marketing strategy your company can send your message to a specific segment of customers in almost any defined geographic market for a predetermined price.
  8. Education Based Marketing:  The consumer is getting smarter and now controls the buy-sell relationship.  Before engaging the seller, the consumer will first take time to educate themselves thoroughly about the product or service they are seeking.  This will be done primarily over the Internet.  Those companies that will take the time to help the consumer by answering their questions and providing good information will gain credibility in the  mind of the buyer.  When she finally decides to purchase, the company that took the time to provide the knowledge she desired will be first on her list to be shopped.  The buying funnel or buying decision cycle has been extended by the consumer spending more time gathering information prior to the buying step.  Make sure your company is the one educating her.
  9. Mobile Marketing:  I predict this will be the most dominant marketing channel in the future.  Consumers are already accessing coupons at the checkout counter on their smartphones.  Will you be ready?
  10. Speed of Message:  In the past if sales were horrible and I wanted to execute a quick promotion it necessitated producing and sending a direct mail piece or producing a TV or radio spot.  If we moved fast enough it might happen in 7-10 days.  Now, if the marketing team this morning wanted to communicate a promotion, it can be delivered via email to the customer database before the sun goes down.  Maybe they would follow-up with another promotion in a couple of days.  Not only is it much faster than before but it is also far less expensive.
  11. Use of Video:  If you want to personalize the message there is no better way than the owner of the business looking into the camera and speaking one on one to the prospect or customer.  Some consumers do not want to read copy.  The video can be used to create traffic to your website, educate the consumer, or be part of a strong call to action.  Video on the Internet tends to be very short in duration and much less expensive than producing a TV spot.  Therefore, video marketing needs to become a strategy in itself.
  12. Build Brand thru Social Media:  All forms of social media such as Twitter or Facebook can be used to build a dialogue with prospects and customers.  This can be the first step in building a relationship that will turn into a sale.  Forums and consumer sites on the Internet can work to the benefit of a business or against it.  Social media is the new word of mouth marketing.  Make sure your company knows how to use it to its best advantage.
  13. Test Headlines and Copy:  By combining analytics with pay-per-click, a company can test various headlines, copy and promotions prior to running a newspaper ad or producing a direct mail piece.  For a nominal investment you will know ahead of time which headlines and promotions the consumer will best respond to.
  14. It’s the Future:  Internet marketing is less than 20 years old.  Yet the estimated dollars to be spent annually in online marketing is expected to surpass $30 billion in the next few years.  At the same time advertising on radio, TV and newspaper is struggling to show any increase.  The message is clear.  Online marketing will continue to outpace other methods of advertising.  A major reason is simply the ability to better measure results from the dollars invested through the Internet.

Will the Internet be a part of your company’s future?

It had better be because it definitely will be a part of your customer’s future.