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Look at the BIG Picture (Leveraging the Network Part 3)

Look at the Big Picture 2Over the past couple weeks, we’ve been discussing a question from Amy Diamond Ray, of Johnson County Chem-Dry that I think is worth addressing in the Digital Minute. She said (in part),

“Can you put out some information on how franchises can help other franchises using social media networking? …What helps most, as far as improving my google ratings while also improving the ratings of my fellow zees? Links? How and where is the best place, or way, to create Links with other sites within our chemdry family? Tags? Does it do any good to tag another franchise in my posts? Or In my comments? 

“I see that Links and link structure are important, but can you explain where and how to get those links on a level that the franchises can understand? It seems we have a large base of franchise business sites that should be able to really help each other if they understood better just how to do that.

“I want to know what I can do on Facebook? On Instagram? Twitter? Google+/GMB? LinkedIn? Pinterest? Blogger? Tumblr? If I hashtag another franchise in the comments, does it help them at all?”

The first week, we discussed how being a part of the network is a great advantage that you should use. Last week, we talked about linking carefully. This week, we cover Part 3:

1) You’re part of a network. USE IT.

2) “Think before you link.”

3) Look at the big picture.

Here we go!

Look at the BIG Picture

One of the things I love most about digital marketing (and often becomes the bane of many business owner’s lives) is how you can look at it on so many different levels. You can get very granular with it, or you can zoom out to see how it all plays together.

Here’s what I would say about managing your presence on all these different platforms. Look at it like you’d look at a Thanksgiving dinner spread. You could get caught up in whether the mashed potatoes have enough salt and cream in them, or if the pumpkin pie was made with fresh or canned pumpkin. But, in the long run, it won’t have THAT much bearing on whether or not the meal is a success. What really matters is that all the “required” elements are in place and the end goal of feeding those present is achieved.

In the big picture, as long as you and your fellow franchisees are putting forth efforts to have their tables full (having as much presence as they can manage), you’re all going to benefit.

Big Takeaway:

There are great advantages to being part of a branded franchise network. Use strategic partnerships with other franchisees to grow your business. Remember the following principles:

  1. You’re part of a network. Don’t waste it. USE IT.
  2. Think before you link. Use links to and from your business that will help build your credibility online.
  3. Look at the BIG picture when it comes to online presence and social media. Don’t get too granular.

If you’d like help figuring out what you can do better, 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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Hunting for Customers

Adobe Spark (20)It’s that time of year again. Here at headquarters, we see people all around preparing for whatever hunting season it is right now (I’m not one of them). I also see social media posts about getting ready for their annual deer/hog/duck/jackalope hunts. Even if you don’t hunt, let me explain why this is on my mind.

Like Picking Apples

Envision with me, if you will, that you’re wanting to hunt ducks. You happen to live on a large plot that’s right next to a marshland FULL of mallards, teals, and wood ducks. You could literally walk out 100 yards with your dogs and your shotgun and bring in your limit within an hour or two. It would be as easy as picking apples from a low-hanging tree.

Would you rather do that or drive into the city and try your luck at the local park pond?

Now, ignoring the obvious infringement of city limit hunting ordinances, which one makes more sense? Of course, the first one! It’s obvious!

Your past customers are like these ducks sitting in the marsh behind your house. You know they’re there. They’re “expecting” to hear from you at some point. They’ve worked with you before and know you. Why would you ignore them?

Rule #1 for owning a Chem-Dry during the pre-holiday season: MARKET TO YOUR DATABASE. Use what you have available:

– Postcards from Postcard Guru or Franchise Print Shop.

– E-mail with ConstantContact.

– Voice/Text Messages w/ Specials with CallFire.

Whatever you choose (hopefully a combination of ALL of them), just DO IT!

Going for New Game

Think for a moment about hunting for new customers. Say you’d never hunted deer before and you asked a seasoned expert where you should go. He told you to get up into the mountains where they’ll be looking for available food. Would you go to the foothills and then wait for one to walk down out of their way and right past you? NO!

If you want to land new customers, you go where the new customers are. Yes, I’m speaking again of Pay-Per-Click. PPC has proven to be far and away the most reliable source for new customers for virtually every Chem-Dry franchise I talk to. Very rarely do I come across anyone that it hasn’t worked for.

New customers are searching daily for your services. Why wouldn’t you want to be one of the results they see?!

One of the great things is that we’ve done some of the hard work for you. We’ve found vendors that are not only reputable, but that are reasonably priced as well. Check out vendors like Net Search DigitalLocal Search MastersWeb Marketing Services, or Centermark. They know their stuff. If you EVER have any questions about whether or not their services will work for you, call me!

Big Takeaway:

Fall is an INCREDIBLE time of year to be a Chem-Dry franchise owner. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be working full days every day. But make sure you have your bases covered.

  1. Market to your database. Use postcards, e-mail, and phone or text messages.
  2. Find new customers through Pay-Per-Click marketing.
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Social Media, Local SEO, Pokemon & You

Adobe Spark (9)

A virtual phenomenon swept the country last year aiming to get “gamers” who stereotypically live in their parents basements, wear sweatpants, and subsist on hot pockets out into the real world, interacting with the elements. You may have heard of it – “Pokemon Go.”

While I have to admit that I tried it out and enjoyed it for a while, it became a waste of time. HOWEVER, my son has recently taken it up and since he’s only 8, I have to go around with him.

Essentially, the game consists of walking around your neighborhood or city hunting and “catching” virtual and fictitious animals with ridiculous names that you can then use to battle against other players’ collections.

But part of the game is “checking in” at various places of interest to collect supplies. They’re called “Poke-Stop’s.” Walking around with him got me thinking, “This is what Chem-Dry owners should be doing!”

You Want Me to WHAT?!…

Okay, so I don’t literally want you to go out playing a video game. You have more important things to do. But I want you look at it this way:

As a service-area business, you want to be local. SUPER local. A great way to do that is to tie your business to local places of interest. What does that mean?

Here are a few ideas:

  • When your technician gets lunch, does he/she go to a popular local diner? Have him/her snap a quick picture of their plate along with your business card.
  • Cleaning for a business? Take a picture of your team out front of the establishment before you begin. Encourage people to come by the next day to see what a great job you did.
  • Participating in a town parade? Share your parade position and what you’ll be handing out.

Ideally, you should pair a picture every time you do this (it improves engagement). But the biggest thing is that you “check in” when doing so. It’s easy.

How Do I Do That?

On Facebook (Desktop):

Click to start writing a post from your business page. Then “Check In” to a local place. If you’re not actually nearby, you can search for it and select the location.

 

Facebook Mobile:

pencil

Just touch the “Publish” icon to start typing a post (the pencil & paper one like you see over to the right).

Then, from the next screen, touch the “Check In” icon at the bottom right of your screen. Again, if you’re nearby, the place should come up automatically. If you’re not, simply search for the business and tag the listing.

It’s that easy. Now, not only will your post show up on your own Facebook page, tying you to the noteworthy location, but the place/business’s page will get a notification that you checked in there and THEIR followers will see your post as well.

It’s a win-win for everyone.

Instagram (Mobile Only):

If your company is doing Instagram (which I highly recommend, in this webinar), you can kill two Pidgey’s (or birds) with one stone.

After you selected your picture and typed your caption (using the appropriate Chem-Dry hash-tags), you can flip the Facebook switch (and Twitter if you like) for your own page and then use a locale that’s recommended under “Add Location”. When you do that, you’ve accomplished the Facebook Check-In AND the Instagram one.

Big Takeaway:

Social Media and location tagging is a great, easy way for you to connect your business to the community. It doesn’t take much. A few pictures/posts each month will go a LONG way.
  1. Check in at local places of interest.
  2. Find a way to tie your business to the place.
  3. Invite customers to check out the other business to see how you did. Their customers will see your activity as well.
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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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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.