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3 Cardinal Rules of E-Mail Marketing

With summer winding down soon, it’s time to start thinking about inexpensive ways to market to your database. While you should definitely not dial back your marketing for new customers, it’s important to show your database some love.
Allow me to share my 3 Cardinal Rules of E-mail Marketing:
  1. Keep it SHORT – The less text, the better.
  2. SHOW, Don’t Tell – Use engaging images to catch and keep their attention. Show them what you’re going to do.
  3. Drive ACTION – Use buttons, links, and phone numbers to get them to act.
Here’s an example that I put together.
Scott's Labor Day Sale Example

Keep it SHORT

Subject Lines: Subject lines are your customer’s first look into the content of your e-mail. Give them a clear reason to open your e-mail. Keep it short and concise (ideally, 6 words or less) and enticing.
Content: I’ll talk more about this in the next section, but remember that the majority of people are far more stimulated by images than by text. Keep your content short and don’t combine too much into one e-mail. You’re probably only e-mailing your customers at most every 4-6 weeks, so you’ll feel tempted to cram as much information in there as you can. DON’T! Give them a maximum of 3 key pieces of information.

SHOW, Don’t Tell

With so many of your customers reading e-mails on mobile devices (probably in excess of 85%!), you’re probably best served to use pictures to deliver your message. There are TONS of resources available to you, like:
  • Pictures on the Gateway
  • Printing Vendors
  • Before/After pictures from the Facebook Group
With so many resources, it should be able to throw something together without a lot of effort.

Drive ACTION

Much like your website, I don’t really care about how many people read your e-mail. I want to know what action people took from your e-mail.
Here are a few things to do:
  1. Inject a tracking number in your e-mail. Since so many of your customers will read from a mobile device. They won’t go looking for your phone number. They’ll just touch the number in your e-mail to call.
  2. Link a picture to a specials page on your website.
  3. Create a “Book Now” button that links directly to a form-fill page on your website.
  4. At very least, offer a (shareable!) coupon code in your e-mail so you know exactly how many jobs or customers you got from it.

Big Takeaway:

E-mail marketing is incredibly cost effective and can make a HUGE difference in your profitability this fall, but you have to do it right.
  1. Be short. Get people the information they need quickly.
  2. Show them why they should call. Use images to tell the story.
  3. Get customers to take action by providing actionable things in your e-mail.
If you’d like help putting together an e-mail campaign for this fall, or just want to show me what you’ve done, click here to schedule a 30-minute coaching call with me. Otherwise, you can simply reply to this e-mail or call me directly at 435-890-1055.
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Selling Value over Price

 
As a business coach, there are few things as frustrating and saddening to hear as a business owner lowering his prices to try and compete with other businesses that really don’t draw a comparison.
Imagine if Mercedes said, “We have to cut our price in half.” When asked why, they respond “Because of Suzuki.”

Own Your Value and Branding

At Chem-Dry, we (should) know and recognize that we’re the “Mercedes” of carpet, upholstery, rug, and tile cleaning services. We do it better than anyone else and we have the numbers to prove it. We’re better for the environment. We’re safer for the customer’s home. We do things that nobody else can. If you have a corner on the “healthier” option in the market, why would you charge the same price as everyone else?

I face this conundrum every time I go shopping. When my wife and I walk through the produce section, we debate between buying the “organic” options or the regular variety that’s cheaper.
Out of curiosity, I approached the produce manager at the store and asked how well the organic stuff sells. His response was surprising. He said that the higher price doesn’t deter many people. In fact, because the produce usually looks and feels riper, customers give it a shot and usually come back to get it because they notice a better taste and are willing to pay the price. They’re more satisfied with what they’re buying.

How Do You Advertise Value?

This is actually far easier than most people think it is. When it comes to value, you can offer your customers SO much more than your price-centered competition. Think of what things (beyond price) are important to your customer. Things like:
  • Dries faster
  • Healthier overall
  • Green Certified
  • Stays cleaner longer
  • Complete Odor removal
  • Less moisture used
  • Highly trained technicians
  • Locally/Independently owned and operated
  • Industry leading products, equipment, & technology
  • 5-star rated (reviews)
These qualities are just the tip of the iceberg. Many of them are “intangibles” that help your customer feel better about hiring you – and why shouldn’t they?! Advertising on price doesn’t set you apart from your competition – it pairs you with them.

What Would Scott Do?

I would use every tool in my arsenal to set myself apart from my competition when I’m advertising – especially in places where they’re just as likely to be seen: PPC, social media, Val-Pak, phone books, etc. Use what the brand gives you – power!.
A couple highlights for PPC to talk to your vendor about:
  • Use “callout” extensions that allow you to add supplemental information to your ad like “Dries in 1-2 hours, not days.”
  • Use “review” extensions that let you show a star rating and a quote from a 3rd-party source (i.e. Customer Lobby, etc.).
With other mediums, try advertising things like “free gift of service” that isn’t a discount, but rather a toss-in for booking a job. For example, “$25 of free cleaning for every $100 you spend.” For digital platforms, make sure you use things like videos from ChemDry.com that quickly communicate the benefits of choosing you.

Big Takeaway:

Your business offers more value than your competition does. Don’t squander it by trying to compete with them on price!
  1. Be a Mercedes, not a Suzuki. Offer a better experience at a valuable price.
  2. Start with the list I showed you and write down what you can offer your customers that your competition can’t. Use those things in your marketing.
  3. Talk to your print, PPC, or social media vendors about what you can use to target customers based on value.
Start running a more profitable business by targeting customers who value what you offer. If you’d like some help, click here to schedule a phone call with me, then register to receive updates about future webinars on digital marketing.
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Firing Bullets in Marketing

Just recently, I finished reading (or rather, listening to a recording of) a fantastic book called “Great by Choice” by Jim Collins. In it, he discusses an idea that has helped multiple large corporations become icons of their industries: First, fire bullets. Then fire cannonballs.
He paints the picture of being aboard a warship from the times of Master and Commander. Imagine that you’ve come upon an enemy ship that you must sink, but you only have one barrel of powder left. You can either use the lion’s share of your powder on a cannonball up front and hope you have enough left for a follow-up shot, or you can fire a series of bullets first to get your trajectory dialed in before you fire the cannonball.
The same can be said of using Pay-Per-Click to dial in your marketing offers before you go all out on a massive campaign.

Bullets vs. Cannonballs

Bullets are small things that can be tested out quickly
 and with low amount of effort or resources to see if they “hit.” When applied to PPC, you have an ability to test out what matters most to people. Is it a dollar amount? Is it a percentage discount? Features of your service? Benefits? The name?
Google AdWords is a perfect place to test out your theories for finding new customers. Within an ad campaign, your marketing manager has the ability to rotate through ads so that each offer shows up evenly across the board. In that way, you can gauge how your customers react to it, rather than how Google thinks it will do.
After you’ve tested a good number of “bullets” in your campaign, then you can start shooting “cannonballs” – highly effective, large effort campaigns that really move the needle.
In other words, if you’re unsure what offer you’re going to make in your fall/winter mailer out to customers (a cannonball), you can make a calculated and more precise shot.

What I Would Do

In testing out different offers in AdWords, the important thing to keep in mind is that you want to test things one change at a time. In other words, don’t test the headline on one ad against the description on another one because you don’t necessarily know what drove your action.
For instance:
As compared to:

Compare the two ads against each other over a week or two to see how often it gets placed and clicked on. Then try the winner against another version of the ad. Continue until you really get it dialed in.

Once you’ve done this a few times, you should have a good idea of what offer will resonate most with your customers before firing a “cannonball” offer to blow your competition out of the water!

Big Takeaway:

Any time you get to test something in miniature before you go at it full bore, it’s a good opportunity to get creative and use data to back your decision.
  1. Test out “bullet” campaigns or offers using a 1 to 1 comparison model to see what works best for your business.
  2. Work with your vendor to program the tests correctly.
  3. Correlate your data and use it to create your “cannonball” campaign via mail, social media, or other forms of advertising.
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Some Just Want to Text

why_we_love_text_messaging

I’m about to write regarding something that’s usually met with rolled eyes and sighs or reluctant acknowledgement – Text Messaging.
Yes, yes. I know. Texting is the bane of most “responsible” adults because all they see nowadays is their kids or other younger people staring at their phones with thumbs flying to tweet, text, or instant message their “friends”.
But here’s the question I must ask you: Would you really turn away a perfectly willing customer just because they prefer to text message rather than call you to schedule a job? I didn’t think so.

Customers Texting You

Consumer’s lives today move at breakneck speed. Between meetings, running kids to soccer practice, catching up on social media, and keeping dinner from burning, they don’t have time for hardly anything – especially conversations that aren’t convenient to have during the day. If you’ve noticed a change in the dynamic of phone calls with your customers, there’s a reason – they’re busy.
Picture this: Mrs. Jones is a busy mom of 3. While her two oldest are at school, she’s running errands of all sorts with her youngest in tow. She’s constantly thinking about the PTA meeting she has this evening, whether or not to buy Lucky Charms or the “organic, non-GMO” cereal that her kids won’t touch, and the article she’s been asked to write for her part-time job. As she’s hurrying through the grocery store, she walks through the cleaning isle and spots a bottle of some junky surfactant-loaded spot remover and realizes, “Shoot. I need to get our carpet cleaned before the party on Saturday, but I don’t have time to call them right now.”
After a quick Google search, she finds a local Chem-Dry’s listing and sees that, lo and behold, she can TEXT them to ask about availability! She taps the “message” button your listing and you’ve got an engaged customer that wants an appointment, STAT!

How Do I Do That? And What’s the $$$?

Google to the rescue! You probably didn’t know it, but you can set up text messaging with your Google My Business listing without any cost or risk of divulging your cell number. Your customer never sees it. In fact, they see a dummy number that Google assigns to you. YOU, however, WILL see your customer’s number.
When you log into your Google My Business account, you’ll see several menu options on the left side of the screen. Select “Messaging”. You’ll enter the mobile phone number you want to use for texting and verify it with a code that Google will send you. After that, you’re all set. You’ll be able to craft an outgoing message that automatically responds when your customer starts the conversation.
I tinkered around with this on my own and found it very intuitive. I even had a short text message conversation with the business (myself).
You see on the right how such a conversation might work for you. Pretty easy, right?
Do you think you could handle this? OF COURSE you can!
Oh, and guess what else… It’s FREE! That’s right. It costs you precisely $0.00. Since most of you probably have an unlimited text messaging plan, there’s no need to worry about any cost whatsoever.

Why Should I? Will I Ever Really Need It?

Short Answer:  Because it’s easy and it’s cheap.
Long Answer: While you may not have that many customers come to you via text message, you don’t really know how many of your customers you’re missing until you try it out.
People today are getting more and more reserved and giving them the option to text you to arrange service could be just one other way to set yourself apart from the competition. It’s not hard, and it shows courtesy and deference to people who may not be able to comfortably contact you otherwise. You just won a loyal customer because you let them contact you on their terms.

Big Takeaway:

Texting isn’t going away anytime soon. If there’s an opportunity to quickly and easily capture a customer via text message, why wouldn’t you do it?
  1. Set up your Google listing with a mobile phone number for texting.
  2. Craft a welcoming message to potential customers.
  3. Keep your phone available and answer promptly!
Text messaging is another potential funnel to bring customers in to your business. Get yourself set up or schedule an appointment to get some help.
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Marketing to Millennials

Let’s just get this out in the open, even though I don’t identify as one, I’m technically a millennial. That means I know a bit about how my generation thinks. Let’s talk about how you can better connect with your most “connected” group of potential customers ever.

Think FAST

Even though millennials are well-known for wanting to take
life at their own pace (aka the “Peter Pan” generation putting off adult decisions as long as possible), that doesn’t mean they move like a 3-toed sloth.
Millennials, in a very general way of speaking, want things fast. Like, lightning fast. They grew up in a world of credit cards, drive-thru windows, pop-tarts, and instant gratification. They HATE waiting with a fiery passion. They have the shortest attention spans of any generation (thank you twinkies), and “know everything” – or, at least, they know someone who does (Google). They’re all “busy”, whether with jobs, friends, or keeping up on “OITNB.”
If you’re going to land one of these customers, and it’s worthwhile to do so (I’ll explain later), you’re going to have to be ready to respond at their pace. That means:
  • A quick, mobile-responsive website
  • Text messaging (for those that don’t like actually *talking* on their phones)
  • Prompt e-mail responses
  • Being at the TOP of the list on Google searches so they don’t have to look very far

Leverage Connectivity

Millennials and their devices are virtually inseparable. 94% of college students in 2007 (I know, 10 years ago) owned a personal computer and 94% of them owned a mobile phone. They’re so well-connected, it’s ridiculous. But all that connectivity means good things for your business – if you play your cards right.
With the overwhelming presence of opinions online, it’s important for you to leverage the opinions that paint you in a good light. With social media giving everyone a voice, A shockingly high percentage of them have a Facebook account and at least one Google account (I actually have FOUR).
Here’s what you should do with your millennial customers to make sure you get more than just your money’s worth:
  • REVIEWS, REVIEWS, REVIEWS – If you satisfy your customer, you won’t get a review without solicitation. Blow them away, and you might get one. Let them down, and you will certainly get one.
  • Connect with them to find more like them. “Lookalike” audiences are a new trend allowing platforms like Facebook to find more potential customers for you based on the characteristics they know about your current customers.
  • Give them a coupon code to TEXT to their friends. Reward their referrals.

Make Them Feel Special

They’ll never admit it, but millennials are narcissists. They’re very egocentric, which means everything comes down to how it affects them. Even when it comes to their “causes”, they care about those things because it makes them look or feel better.
Take a little extra effort to pander their ego and make them feel special. They’re accustomed to it – they’ve been told they’re special since kindergarten. While you can market en masse, find ways to make your marketing personalized – as if you took the time to reach out only to them and their needs.
  • Custom e-mail/mailing campaigns that dynamically inject their name.
  • Throw in a “bonus” just for them on that job. Even if it’s just standard procedure.
  • Get a text-enabled tracking number and hand it out as a personal contact number you only give to “your favorite customers”.

Big Takeaway:

Millennials aren’t as complicated as they sound. Frustrating? Sure. Quirky? Absolutely. But they’re going to be your best customers if you treat them right. Remember these things:
  1. They move quickly. You’ll have to keep up.
  2. They’re well connected. Use their connections to grow your business.
  3. Make them feel special because, in their minds, they’re the only customers that matter to you.
Take the steps that will grow your business online. I can also help you with any of these things.
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Advertising on Google for Free

Yes, you read that correctly – FREE. Doesn’t cost you a dime. And it’s easy. We’re not talking about the complexity of AdWords. This is something you could do from your phone. All you need is a few minutes.

Google “Posts”

Google My Business has recently released a new feature called
“Posts” that allow you to highlight specials, services, and other media directly below your Google listing in search results.
See the example that I’ve shared below where TNT Chem-Dry in Nashville has leveraged the space below their Google listing to feature a special for carpet cleaning, tile cleaning, and highlighting their reviews. This costs NOTHING! Let’s show you how to do it.
TNTCD Google Posts

Creating “Posts”

Start by signing into your Google My Business account. When you get to your home screen, you’ll see a menu like this over to your left.

You’ll not only have access to your reviews and other information here, but you’ll notice the “New” feature pointing to “Posts”. Click there.

 

 

On the next screen, you’ll see something that looks like this. If you click anywhere in the white box, you’ll be given a screen like the one you see below.

Now you get to create your post.

I’d recommend doing something with a picture that you either downloaded from the Gateway or a high-resolution photo you took yourself. Maybe a before/after shot.

You can also make it an “event” adding dates for the promotion and create a button to drive action like “reserve” or “get offer” which take them to a page on your website.

The Finished Product

By the time you’re done, you should have something resembling what you see to the right.

I’ve highlighted the allergen study results, added a time frame, and made a compelling offer for people to call.

It took me about 5 minutes to put this together. See how easy it is?

Big Takeaway:

It’s not very often that Google gives you the chance to advertise for FREE. Take advantage of every opportunity they give you. This will be especially relevant if you’re working on building up your online reviews, too!
  1. Update your Google My Business listing.
  2. Pick 2-3 pictures that you can create a “post” with.
  3. Make some alluring posts that can drive customers to call your business!
This is a HUGE opportunity that can really benefit your business. Don’t miss out on it! If you’d like some help, click here to schedule an appointment with me.
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PPC Done Right

 
There’s a saying that goes back a long, long time. “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.”
It’s applicable in so many ways, but today I’d like to apply it to Pay-Per-Click advertising. I’ve stated many times that I’m confident enough in PPC that I’d be willing to stake my personal and professional reputation on it – when it’s done right. Let’s talk about what that looks like.

Before We Get Started:

With VERY few exceptions, I would not have you get our theme confused with “If you want it done right, do it yourself.” Just like it’s worthwhile for your customers to hire you to solve their problems, I would recommend that you hire someone to handle PPC advertising for you. It’s not a “set it and forget it” sort of platform. It needs daily maintenance and management, which is not necessarily entrepreneur-friendly. You have a lot more important things to worry about, so it’s worth handing off to an expert that can focus on it.

What “PPC Done Right” Looks Like

Pay-Per-Click advertising on all platforms (Google AdWords, Yahoo!, Bing, Facebook, Instagram, Doubleclick, etc.) is a very complicated and intricate practice that’s not easily mastered or maintained. It takes a very specialized skill set to appropriately organize and execute campaigns.
In order for PPC to be done right it needs the following elements to be dialed in:
  1. An appropriate budget
  2. Impression Share
  3. Targeting
  4. Click-Through-Rate
  5. Conversion Tracking
I’ll touch on the first two today and the last three next week.

A Good Budget

I recently wrote about how to come up with an appropriate PPC budget. While I think that explanation is pretty good, let’s take another look at it.

Say you’re wanting to grow your business by 1 job a day. You know you usually have the capacity, so you’re just looking to expand a little bit. At an average cost per click of $6.00 (which is very low for some markets), every time someone clicks on one of your ads, you’ll average in cost at about $6.00. If one out of every 5 clicks turns into a job (average call per click rate is 1 in 4), then that means you’ll pay $30.00 to get a job every day. Multiply that out by 22 working days a month and you’re looking at a budget of about $660.
I’d venture to say that if you’re not willing to spend at LEAST that amount on PPC, you’re probably not going to get much return. If you’re only willing to spend $10 per day, that amount probably won’t last you long. A daily budget of $10 means that you would likely only get 2 clicks in a day (at $6 per click), which means you’d go 2.5 days of clicks before getting a job.
This is where calculating impression share with your vendor comes in.
Big Takeaway:
PPC is a complex and time-consuming practice, but it’s worth doing. Those that aren’t are going to struggle to keep up with competition.
  1. Find a trustworthy vendor to run your PPC campaigns and get them off your plate.
  2. Figure out your budget based on your business needs. If you need help, schedule a call with me to get one established.
Appropriate digital marketing practices offer a bright horizon for your business and reaching new customers. Click to receive updates about future webinars on digital marketing.

Impression Share

I get questions from business owners all the time saying, “I’m budgeting $1,200 per month in PPC. Should I spend more than that?”
The answer is usually “It depends on your impression share.”
Impression share is the percentage of times your ad is shown out of how many times your ad could have shown. For instance, if there are 1,000 applicable searches for “carpet cleaning” in my area and I show up 350 times, that’s a 35% impression share.
Now, is a 35% impression share good or bad? Well, that also depends. Ideally, I would want your business to show up as often as your budget will allow. Meaning, if you live in a smaller market with little competition and have the ability to show up 90%+ of the time, go for it! Otherwise, if your budget only allows you to have a 45-50% impression share, have your vendor do as much as they can to analyze peak performance criteria for your ads to maximize your budget.
Impression share gives you a great insight into your campaign performance and is something you should be asking your vendor about on a regular basis.

What Can Happen

Since impression share serves as a barometer for how you’re keeping up with your competition, it’s a useful tool to know when something’s going wrong.
Let me paint you a picture.
Suppose you’re watching your impression share to keep an eye out and it takes a sudden nosedive.
That could be due to a new competitor coming into town with a HUGE marketing budget (maybe someone with a palindrome for a brand). They start spending inordinate amounts of money on PPC and drown you out.
You and your vendor now have some research to do in order to figure out what your next move is. Do you increase your budget? Do you stay at your current budget and just try to ride it out, hoping that they’ll run out of money? (They will eventually.) Or you can go Braveheart on them. Your choice.

Big Takeaway:

It’s pretty easy to see how knowing and understanding your Impression Share can be a game-changing factor in your business.
  1. Ask your vendor what your impression share is. They should be able to find it for you.
  2. Analyze where you’d like to be vs where you can afford to be and formulate a plan with your vendor to make that a reality.
  3. Keep an eye on your Impression Share to know where your competition is.

Targeting

You know that phrase “barking up the wrong tree”? I feel like a lot of business owners take that approach with PPC. They choose a shotgun approach to advertising instead of focusing in on talking to the people who are actively interested and have the highest likelihood of becoming a customer.
Here’s what I mean. PPC is an amazing tool in that you can get very granular with your settings on various campaigns. You can target customers based on location, the search they’re making, the device they’re using, the time of day, or even their gender (if Google can detect it).
What I would do is target locations (zip codes, more likely than not) where I know I have interested customers that can afford my services. I would also be willing to pay more for a click from a customer on a mobile device because I have a higher likelihood of getting a phone call from that customer.
In fact, a recent development from Google is the advent of what’s called a “call-only ad.” These ads do just what they sound like – they get the customer on the phone immediately. It might cost you a little extra every time someone clicks on one, but wouldn’t you be willing to pay another dollar to increase your chances of getting a booked job?
Another aspect of targeting is “keyword” or “topical” targeting. When you start advertising, you have the option of doing a blanket bid for all things you want to show up for. It would treat all bids from carpet cleaning to carpet dyeing the same, which you can understand is not optimal. Instead, you can target customers by what they’re searching for. Example: If you have a customer that’s searching for something along the lines of “pet urine removal”, you should probably be willing to pay more for that type of customer because you know you can make good money on that job. You should consider bidding higher on other high-ticket services too.

Click-Through-Rate (CTR)

Of all the metrics you should learn about when it comes to PPC (and as a non-vendor, I wouldn’t expect you to learn a ton of them), Click-Through-Rate (CTR) is in my top 3.
CTR is a result of dividing the number of clicks you’ve received by the number of impressions you earned. If your ad showed up 100 times and you got clicked on 3 times, you have a 3% CTR.
The reason it’s important for you to learn about it is because CTR is primarily an indicator of how good your ad/offer is. An ad with a high CTR is more likely to be shown by Google than one with a poor CTR. It’s also an indicator of how relevant your ad is to what people are searching for.
Ideally, your CTR for most ads should be between 3-5% on popular searches. On searches that are less common, you can expect a much higher CTR on a well-written ad.
In general, CTR is a number to focus on with your vendor for different search topics to always work on improving your ads.
Big Takeaway:
Pay-Per-Click done right gives you the ability to talk directly to people who are actively looking for your services. You wouldn’t ignore a phone call. Why ignore what makes the phone ring?
  1. Write out characteristics of your ideal customer and what they’d search for.
  2. Work with your vendor to come up with targeting options that fit your needs based on location, device, search terms, and other information.
  3. Ask your vendor about your current CTR to see how they’re doing on ad content. Ask them to share some ads with you and think about whether or not you’d click on it.
As always, if you have any questions about your PPC advertising, feel free to get in touch and get input. My door (phone) is always open.