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May 28, 2009

PGA Tour Provides Twitter, Facebook, YouTube Options to Engage Fans

PGA Tour engages tournament fans with technologyForget who made a hole-in-one on Colonial’s famous #13 – the real hole-in-one is the technology surrounding the tournament. For years the PGA tour and its partners have focused on leveraging technology to enhance the spectators’ experience – whether on the course or on the couch. This year introduces even more offerings like player updates via Twitter and Facebook and video postings on YouTube. Here’s a quick run-down of the tech-packed tournament for one of the world’s oldest sports.

Shot Tracker

Golf fans are an information hungry group demanding the latest scores and stats on things like yards driven, greens in regulation, longest drive and putting accuracy. Using global positioning technology (GPS), laser triangulation, and scores of volunteers following each player the PGA’s Shot Tracker system provides a bevy of rich information on every player of every tournament on every hole. A slick presentation makes the Shot Tracker perfect for the couch surfer or office-bound fan keeping track of their favorite players performance.

Social Networking – Facebook and Twitter

While the Shot Tracker and Fanzone remain the online meeting spot for PGA fans worldwide, the PGA is expanding to social networking to further engage its existing fans while expanding its reach to a new audience. The PGA can now be found on Facebook where they post interesting tidbits on tournament news, player performance, and post pictures and video links every day of tournament competition. Leveraging Facebook exposes the PGA to an estimated 200 million Facebook members – some who already know and love the PGA tour, others who are exposed for the first time to it. Twitter, the micro-blogging site instantly distributing small text-based messages (called tweets) to fans and blowout success of 2009, is now tweeting PGA updates with short messages such as “Singh now in lead at Colonial” to fans’ cellphones.

YouTube and Podcasts

The PGA Tour is also leveraging already popular technologies such as YouTube to post videos highlights of tournament action each day and posting podcasts (small audio files for listening on iPod’s and PCs) to it’s PGATour.com website, iTunes, and other media outlets.

PGATour.com, Widgets, and Email Updates

Lastly, the PGATour.com website provides widgets, daily email updates, and audio and video news on tournament play. Widgets are small “boxes” that can be embedded in websites or blogs and provide real-time tournament data in a compact form.

Information on the Go with Mobile Versions

It is now possible to get all of the aforementioned solutions available in the palm of your hand via your web-enabled cell phone. Especially popular for cell phones are Facebook, Twitter and the mobile PGA Tour website found at http://mobile.pgatour.com. Fans on the go, or on the course, will appreciate access to stats, schedules, player information, scores and news. Ironically, as PGA fans continue to flock to mobile websites for information possessing a cell phone on the course at a PGA tournament is grounds for removal.

Keeping Fans Engaged

“Tools like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube keep PGA fans engaged,” according to Kelly Short, a technology industry expert who publishes the website KellyRShort.com to help small and medium companies increase sales, lower operating costs and automate business processes. “Fans follow their favorite players and really become a part of the PGA community, which enables the PGA Tour to extend their brand and offer advertising opportunities to sponsors.” But it’s not just about advertising dollars explains Short, “Customers are more demanding now and want more than just the core event experience – they want a multi-dimensional immersion in event action including web, mobile, social networking, and audio/video options.”

Copyright 2009

Kelly R. Short - Visit http://www.kellyrshort.com to increase sales with powerful marketing, lower operating costs using business process automation, leverage unified technology to crush your competition, and enjoy actionable advice from over 15 years of technology experience.

May 27, 2009

Kelly Short Now Expert Author at EzineArticles.com

Kelly Short is now an "Expert Author" on EzineArticles.com

EzineArticles.com, a web site dedicated to bringing real-world experts and ezine publishers together, has added Kelly Short's original publications to its online directory of articles. EzineArticles.com has also granted Mr. Short the status of "Expert Author" based on his knowledge of industry trends.

http://ezinearticles.com/?expert_bio=Kelly_Short

May 22, 2009

Generate Sales with Email Marketing Campaigns - 5 Tips for Success

email_Campaign.jpgIf you have an email account you have certainly received an email advertising a company’s products or services. Companies use email marketing campaigns as part of an overall marketing strategy to increase brand exposure, drive traffic to websites/phones, and to drive sales for specific products and services. Email marketing campaigns can be very successful and cost effective if you know these secrets to success:

1. Lead lists

Chances are you have a list of emails from your customers, but hopefully you are already reaching out to them on a regular basis so how do you get new email addresses for new potential customers? Buy them of course! One secret of successful email marketing campaigns is that companies buy email addresses from sources that have qualified customers. Magazines and publications your customers frequent are a great example of this. Email list addresses can be purchased (on average) for $.05 to $.25 per address depending on their level of pre-qualification.

 

2. Set expectations

How do you define success for your email marketing campaign? On average, only 10% or less of recipients will read your email. A smaller percentage will click a link included within your email, and an even smaller percentage will inquire about your products or services or buy something on your website. Therefore, set your expectations accordingly and define your success criteria based on the number of potential new customers you want.

For instance:

Assume 10% of recipients will read your email

Assume 20% of those will click on a link in your email to learn more

Assume 30% of those visiting your website will make an inquiry or purchase.

If you want 100 new potential customers you would need to buy 16,667 email addresses

[10% of 16,667 = 1,667; 20% of 1,667 = 333, 30% of 333 = 100]

 

3. Graphics, colors, and images

Studies have shown potential customers respond positively to bright and vibrant graphics, colors and images so build your email accordingly. Use HTML code to make your email look like your company website to enforce branding and provide a consistent experience between your emails, website and corporate marketing material.

 

4. Customer focused

You have a very short period of time to capture the recipients’ attention so make sure the message of your email piques their interest. Make the message customer focused – how will they benefit from your company? “Triple sales using our proven XYZ confabulator” is a good example – after all, who doesn’t want to triple sales? Make your message brief – too many topics will distract from the impact of your main message. Lastly – describe how your products and services are different from your competitors. “The XYZ confabulator converts leads to customers 45% faster than any other confabulator available today,” for example.

 

5. A unique call to action

You are sending this email to potential customers and you want them to act in a specific manner – make this known. Provide a unique call to action in your email that tells the customer what to do next. “Click here to begin tripling your sales today” tells customers what to do next (while also piquing their interest with a teaser). This call to action should stand out visually – preferably at the top and bottom of the email.

 

Follow these simple steps to drive successful email marketing campaigns and extend your brand, drive traffic to your website, and generate potential leads, all in a cost-effective manner.

 

Copyright 2009

Kelly R. Short - Visit http://www.kellyrshort.com to increase sales with powerful marketing, lower operating costs using business process automation, leverage unified technology to crush your competition, and enjoy actionable advice from over 15 years of technology experience.

May 21, 2009

Double Traffic to Your Website with 5 Simple Tasks

line_of_people.JPGWith these simple 5 steps you can double (and in many cases triple, quadruple, or more) the amount of traffic to your website increasing exposure, leads and eventually business.

1. Include your website address on everything –

Business cards, brochures, email signatures, company signage, advertisements, mailers, on your voicemail and company greeting.

 

2. Optimize your website for search engines

Ensure your website appropriately uses page titles, tags, headers and is keyword rich. Register your site with search engines like Google.com, Yahoo.com and MSN.com.

 

3. Buy qualified leads

Determine which magazines your customers read and purchase lead lists from them, then send mailers and/or emails to these leads and mention how your company’s products and services will benefit the lead and encourage them to click on a link to your website to learn more.

 

4. Blog and Answer questions

Find blogs that discuss your services and products and contribute to the discussions, subtly mentioning the company you work for while providing a link to your website. Answer questions related to your services and products on sites like Yahoo! Answers and Wiki Answers – again subtly mentioning the company you are with and providing a link to your website.

 

5. Purchase sponsored advertising

Those search results in gray at the top of each Google page didn’t end up there by accident – those companies paid to be there. Studies show that being one of the first few search results yields significant traffic to your website – depending on the keywords you purchase – this can also be quite affordable.

Copyright 2009

Kelly R. Short - Visit http://www.kellyrshort.com to increase sales with powerful marketing, lower operating costs using business process automation, leverage unified technology to crush your competition, and enjoy actionable advice from over 15 years of technology experience.

May 19, 2009

Adopt Electronic Documents - Each Filing Cabinet Costs $25,000

A survey from Benchmark International determined that the average four-drawer file cabinet costs $25,000 to fill (includes paper, labor, share of facility cost, etc) and $2,100 per year to maintain. Add to this the cost of

Add to this the cost of organizing, finding, and copying these files. Lost files? Add $150 on average to find it. Document imaging solves these problems while greatly enhancing your ability to search data within each file, organize and share files, and create backups for disaster recovery.

The advances of document scanning have increased tremendously over the past decade to a point where most offices can support a digital document environment without adding expensive equipment, software or staff expertise.

How to Get Started:

1.      Take an assessment of the paper files your company handles on a regular basis. Make a hierarchy that could be used to organize them – this would be similar to your filing cabinet organization method (assuming you have one). For instance:

  • Level 1: Clients
  • Level 1.1: Client Name
  • Level 1.2: Client Opportunities
  • Level 1.3: Client Contracts
  • Level 1.4: Contract Communications

Build out this hierarchy and then ask yourself what critical pieces of information you would want from each level to optimize how your staff accesses data – this will guide how you tag each document with keywords. For instance, let’s say you want to locate all client opportunity proposals – if you have tagged each digital file with the keyword “proposal” your search will return every proposal on the network instantly.

2.      Ensure you have the right equipment - most copiers made within the last few years also provide scanning capabilities and the ability to save files to a network drive – check to see if yours does. If not, dedicated document scanners are very affordable. Whatever type of equipment you choose ensure it provides a multi-page document feeder so you don’t have to scan one page at a time.

3.      Adopt a digital philosophy - Once you have the equipment to scan documents – integrate the philosophy of digital documents within your organization by requiring that every file be scanned and stored on the network. Help employees understand the financial benefits of using digital documents and how that translates to their compensation and work stability (not to mention reduced hassle from searching for lost files).

Copyright 2009

Kelly R. Short - Visit http://www.kellyrshort.com to increase sales with powerful marketing, lower operating costs using business process automation, leverage unified technology to crush your competition, and enjoy actionable advice from over 15 years of technology experience.

May 18, 2009

Earthquake Rattles DFW, Swine Flu now Pandemic – Is Your Disaster Plan Updated?

Okay, an earthquake measuring 3.3 on the Richter scale is hardly worth noting, but it does remind us that disasters do happen and when they do, we must have a contingency plan. How will your business continue operating in time of disaster?

 

Hurricanes cut power, internet, and destroy office structures. Disease spreads rampantly causing public health officials to urge citizens to remain home for protection. A tornado ravages a central business district causing major disruption to office access. Sound familiar? It should – all of these disasters and more have occurred in the past decade causing billions of lost revenue to companies – and forcing many companies out of business.

 

How to Proceed:

 

Your company’s disaster plan (or disaster recovery or contingency plan as they are also called) can be enacted at a moments notice to ensure the impact to your business is greatly minimized, but have you recently updated your disaster plan to account for changes in business process, technology and new or changing staff responsibilities?

 

Review your disaster plan at least once per year and ask yourself the following questions:

1. Is the disaster recovery plan up-to-date? Does it reflect our current operating model and business processes?

2. Do all employees understand how to execute the disaster recovery plan? When was the last time the disaster recovery plan was rehearsed?

3. Does your technology stack support working remotely if employees can’t access the physical office? Do employees have access to important files, software, and systems required to perform their daily jobs?

4. When was the last time your data was backed-up? If all your computers were destroyed overnight where would you turn to for mission-critical data?

 

These and many other questions will help you ensure your disaster recovery plan will sustain your business when disasters hit. As the Boy Scouts motto reads – “Be Prepared.”

 

Copyright 2009

Kelly R. Short - Visit http://www.kellyrshort.com to increase sales with powerful marketing, lower operating costs using business process automation, leverage unified technology to crush your competition, and enjoy actionable advice from over 15 years of technology experience.

Most Marketing Managers miss the Power of Facebook, Twitter, Social Networking

A recent study from McCann Erikson UK Social Media survey found that 65% of marketing managers do not adequately understand how social networking tools can be used to market their company. This while an overwhelming number admit social networking is here to stay (86%).

A recent study from McCann Erikson UK Social Media survey found that 65% of marketing managers do not adequately understand how social networking tools can be used to market their company. This while an overwhelming number admit social networking is here to stay (86%).

 

If your company has a marketing manager, or if you wear that hat in addition to your role as CEO, consider the following:

1. Most users of social networking sites are NOT in high school.

2. Word of mouth is more important that ever in marketing services and products to customers – social networking sites have become incredibly powerful tools in spreading this word of mouth

3. Creating a presence on social networking sites extends brand and creates community with potential and existing customers, but also improves your search engine rankings

How to Get Started

1. Determine which social networking site is most appropriate for your target audience based on their general member demographics and interests

2. Determine what content you will provide in your profile – will it be product/service information to attract new customers or customer service information to facilitate communications with existing customers?

 

3. Identify a resource within your company who will be responsible for monitoring and creating posts on your social network site, then create a profile based on the information you determined in step #2.

 

4. Engage, engage, engage! Social networking is just that – networking. So make sure your company is maintaining its online relationship the way you maintain your real-world equivalents.

 

Copyright 2009

Kelly R. Short - Visit http://www.kellyrshort.com to increase sales with powerful marketing, lower operating costs using business process automation, leverage unified technology to crush your competition, and enjoy actionable advice from over 15 years of technology experience.

May 15, 2009

Integrating Technology, Sales and Marketing Keys to Success McKinsey Survey Shows

McKinsey survey shows importance of integrating technology, marketing and sales

The consultancy at McKinsey published in the McKinsey Quarterly the top online marketing trends affecting business today. Of note, more than half of respondents stated that by 2010 they will generate more than 10% of their sales from online channels. Considering online sales channels often generate more bottom-line revenue when compared to offline channels, this shift in sales generation represents a tremendous paradigm shift for companies of all sizes.

 

“Most companies today don’t integrate their online and offline marketing activities; companies that use online tools across the full spectrum of marketing activities are much more likely to do so,” the survey summarizes. By integrating your online sales, service and marketing with in-house technology and process management you will create a new competitive advantage within your company.

Points of interest from the survey

Most Popular New Online Marketing Vehicles for 2009

Importance of Using Online Tools in Respondents’ Marketing

  • Service management – 93%
  • Sales management – 76%
  • Advertising – 68%
  • Product development – 66%
  • Pricing – 40%

Which digital channels does your company use to sell products or services?

  • Company website – 79%
  • Proprietary or external e-commerce platform – 42%
  • Store in virtual world – 8 %
  • External auction site – 6%

Which digital tools does your company use for service?

  • Information on company website – 86%
  • Email – 78%
  • One click-to-call – 29%
  • Hosting a knowledgebase or user forum on website for self help – 16%
  • Online text or voice chat with customer support person – 8%
  • Online video chat with customer support person – 6%

Copyright 2009

Kelly R. Short - Visit http://www.kellyrshort.com to increase sales with powerful marketing, lower operating costs using business process automation, leverage unified technology to crush your competition, and enjoy actionable advice from over 15 years of technology experience.

May 14, 2009

72% of Customer Lead Calls Mishandled - Learn From Auto Dealers' Mistakes

According to a recent Dealix survey of 3,000 phone calls to auto dealerships 72% of inquiry calls received were mishandled. The study notes that most mishandled calls fall into three areas:

 

  • Seventy-two percent of dealers did not ask for an appointment with the caller.
  • Thirty-five percent of dealers did not suggest alternatives if the caller's first vehicle of interest was already sold.
  • Twenty-four percent of dealer voice mail systems were full or not functional, so the customer was unable leave a message.

How can your company learn from these mistakes? Consider the following:

 

Problem 1: Are your agents, sales staff or receptionist asking potential customers for face time when they have them on the phone?

 

Solution: Getting a lead on the phone is equivalent to gold – think how many voice messages you’ve never had returned. You must convert while you have a lead on the phone and asking them right then for a meeting will begin the process of converting that lead to a sale. Enabling your staff with a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution will help them ask the right questions from the potential customer.

 

Problem 2: Are your sales agents and front-line employees enabled to suggest alternatives if you don’t offer what the potential customer is seeking?

 

Solution: If a customer calls asking for Plastic Zippers Size 5 enable your staff to suggest your company’s line of Brass Zippers Size 4 which last longer, require less space, and in recent laboratory tests perform better than plastic zippers. Decision and pricing engines, internal wiki’s and CRM solutions can all help in directing the customer towards products and services your company offers.

 

Problem 3: Is voice mail killing your leads? Potential customers unable to leave messages? Do you even know the answer to this question?

 

Solution: It may seem obvious, but setting up your voicemail system appropriately can have an enormous impact on your company’s image. Ensure a “catch all” mailbox is created for overflow calls, create a general inquiries mailbox that mentions your company’s website for additional information, and run reports to determine which mailboxes are filling up the most.

Copyright 2009

Kelly R. Short - Visit http://www.kellyrshort.com to increase sales with powerful marketing, lower operating costs using business process automation, leverage unified technology to crush your competition, and enjoy actionable advice from over 15 years of technology experience.

May 11, 2009

Facebook, Twitter and MySpace Generate Leads and Extend Brand - How To Leverage Social Networking Sites

Summary: Used properly, social networking tools like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace can generate leads, create community with existing customers, and provide information on products and services.

You might think Twitter, Facebook and MySpace are only for your fifteen year old tween texting wildly on her cell phone, but these social networking sites have become important tools for large, respectable companies in generating business leads and extending their brand.

Facebook currently has over 100,000,000 members who link to each other through known friends and to new friends through suggestions from existing friends. Though primarily for personal profiles – many companies have discovered that creating a company profile enables existing and perspective customers to learn about your company’s services, products and to receive news blasts as you update your status.

Twitter has recently exploded as a quick and efficient means of sending short communications to customers since tweets are limited to 140 characters. (This sentence has 127 characters) “All ladies tops 50% off today only at DFW Dress Shack” is a great example of a tweet a retail company might send to their “followers” to generate interest and drive sales. Most followers receive tweets immediately on their cell phone further enhancing the timeliness of the Twitter mechanism.

The oldest of the three social networking sites, MySpace caters to a much younger audience but members cover all age groups. Rock bands, television shows, and other entertainment organizations have embraced MySpace to communicate with their friends in the same manner as Facebook.

The best way to use social networking sites is to provide your existing and potential customers with a mechanism to communicate with your team, learn more about your products and services, and to keep customers updated on exciting changes within your organization. The tools tend to be less formal so include the personality of your organization to increase interest from perspective customers.

Things to consider:

  • How to track and convert new “friends” or “followers” to leads, then to customers?
  • What is the most efficient method for managing communications with friends/followers?
  • How can social networking and viral marketing be leveraged to garner attention and potential customers?

Interesting stats:

A recent report from http://www.whitepapersource.com/socialmediamarketing/report/ provides insight into the habits of the social networker:

Marketer's Use of Social Media Tools
Social Media
% Respondents Using
Twitter
86%
Blogs
79
Linkedin
78
Facebook
77
Source: Social Media Marketing Industry Report, March 2009

 

Benefits of Social Media Marketing (% of Respondents, multiple response OK)
Benefit
% Responding
Generated exposure
81%
Increased traffic, subscribers, list
61
New business partners
56
Increased position in search rankings
52
Generated qualified leads
48
Reduced overall marketing expenses
45
Helped close sales
35
Source: Social Media Marketing Industry Report, March 2009

Copyright 2009

Kelly R. Short - Visit http://www.kellyrshort.com to increase sales with powerful marketing, lower operating costs using business process automation, leverage unified technology to crush your competition, and enjoy actionable advice from over 15 years of technology experience.