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Plugin Test – Overlay Memestack

Written by localdirect on . Posted in Uncategorized

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Why using Facebook is a Must for your Business

Written by localdirect on . Posted in Social Marketing

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Why using Facebook is a Must for your Business

facebook Like

Facebook has over a billion members, which equates to around one sixth of the world’s population.  That’s a lot of people! When you take this statistic into account, there’s no wonder that Facebook is bursting with potential new leads and customers.  Facebook is too big an opportunity to miss for any business, so why shouldn’t you get a slice of the pie?

There’s no escaping the fact, if you don’t have a Facebook business page, you’re doing yourself a huge injustice.  Your larger competitors will most definitely have a page on Facebook.  And your local ones will be steps ahead of you if they’re on Facebook too and you aren’t.  Businesses are becoming much more aware of the importance of being on Facebook so don’t get left behind.

Bearing in mind our statistic from earlier, Facebook is the ideal arena to advertise your products and services.  Facebook is the modern day equivalent of the Yellow Pages, so if someone wants to find out information about your business, they’re gonna look for you on Facebook.  And if you’re not there, then that’s a potential customer lost.

One real advantage of Facebook is that it’s a great tool for asking for feedback from your customers and listening to what they have to say. People can be reluctant to fill in surveys or complete lengthy forms, but ask them informal questions on Facebook about how you could improve your business, and they will be happy to help you out.  People are more likely to speak their mind when interacting on Facebook, for example, a customer is hardly gonna tell you to your face if they think your restaurant’s decor is looking a little drab, but they’re more likely to be honest with you in the comfort of a social network where they’re less likely to feel awkward or embarrassed.

Interacting with your customers in this way can provide you with a wealth of information, giving you vastly greater knowledge about what your customers want.  After all, giving your customers what they want is surely the key to a successful business, and if you don’t know what it is that they want, then you need to find out, and as we said before, Facebook is the best way by far to do this.

If you’re still not convinced, take a look at the statistics below:

  • 94% of businesses are using Social Media to market their products and/or services.  That leaves only 6% of businesses not making the most of this opportunity
  • 69% of consumers are more likely to use a local business if it has information available on a social network
  • 42% of B2B and 67% of B2C businesses have gained customers via Facebook
  • Inbound Marketing (Social Media/Online) is 62% cheaper than traditional    marketing techniques
  • 97% of an individual’s purchasing decisions are influenced by online marketing
  • 70% of consumers go online as their first port of call to find out information about a local business
  • 92% of consumers trust peer recommendations – only 14% trusting advertisements
  • Facebook Business Pages contribute to your SEO
  • Updating your status on Facebook daily contributes to SEO
  • 74% of Facebook Friends say they value regular posts

Sources – IDoFacebook.com, Hubspot, eConsultancy, RazorFish.com, Social Media Today, Comscore, SmallBizTrends

Why use FanBoom?

FanBoom

Still not convinced?  Well if the standard features offered by Facebook are not enough to sway your decision, then the added features made possible by integrating FanBoom with your Facebook page can really take your marketing to another level.  Here’s just a few of the key benefits:

Enhanced Branding

With FanBoom you can create a truly awesome business Facebook page.  FanBoom’s powerful WordPress-based editor enables you to create customised Facebook pages by yourself, avoiding the costs of hiring a designer.  You’ll have complete freedom to build your own page to exactly how you want it, using a range of different themes, layouts and styles which are fully customisable.  You can add cool functions to your page such as slideshows and accordions, increasing the ‘wow’ factor whilst also making your page look highly professional.  In no time at all, you can have a branded Fanboom page, where fans can post comments, share photos, ask and answer questions and interact with you.

Improved Fan Engagement

FanBoom also makes attracting fans simple by making extensive use of some of Facebook’s best viral capabilities.  Engaging your fans with interactive features such as fan gates, competitions and free giveaways has never been easier. Keeping your fans engaged is vital to maintain their loyalty to your brand. Having a variety of activities for your fans to participate in is a great way to achieve this and by tapping into Facebook’s viral aspects, you can be sure that your page will quickly grow in popularity.

Convert Fans to Customers

So, you’ve got Facebook fans, now what?  FanBoom provides multiple ways to improve the chances of fans becoming customers.  By simply capturing the email addresses of your fans into your auto-responder of choice you significantly increase the likelihood that they will become a customer in the future.  FanBoom provides multiple ways to incentivise fans to opt-in for repeat marketing without appearing needy or using aggressive marketing techniques.

FanBoom even have a Store Builder feature where you can set up shop on your Facebook business page, adding another sales outlet without all the overheads.  What could be better?!

Hopefully, you’ll now have a greater understanding of the significance of Facebook in today’s marketing arena.   Ignoring Facebook is no longer an option for anyone who wants to succeed, especially in today’s tough economic climate.  Combined with FanBoom, Facebook becomes a powerful marketing force capable of elevating you above your competitors, separating your business from the masses and most importantly, bringing new customers to your door.

We’ve barely scratched the surface of what FanBoom has to offer so Check out Fanboom today and Sign up for free.

Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing

Written by localdirect on . Posted in General

inbound marketingMarketing is evolving and here at LocalDirect we like to think we’re pretty ahead of the curve when it comes to delivering some of the newer marketing technologies and techniques.  What is very clear is that there has been a definite shift in recent years in the relationship between marketers and consumers, a shift from traditional outbound marketing to what, by comparison, has been called inbound marketing.

This shift is being driven by new media and new technology, which puts the consumer in more control than ever. More specifically, the internet, smartphones and social networking sites mean that information, an opinion, a recommendation or, indeed, a warning is never far away.  Consumers are now easily able research products and services before buying them and are empowered to ask their social networks for recommendations before making a decision.  The smartphone means that this research and testimonial seeking can now happen in store, whilst looking at a restaurant’s menu board or while watching TV.

This means that the traditional way of pushing an advert or marketing message to an audience, either via TV/radio, billboard advertising, magazine adverts, etc…  is increasingly being accompanied by pull marketing, that is where the consumer initiates the marketing relationship by actively seeking information about a particular product or service.  This is nothing new, as search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing have been around for ages, what is new however is the immediacy of the activity and the crucial role that social and mobile marketing can now play.

The new marketing communication — inbound marketing — has become a two-way dialogue, much of which is facilitated by social media.

Another reason why inbound marketing is becoming more prominent is because it costs less than traditional marketing. Why try to buy your way in when consumers aren’t even paying attention? Here are some stats from the infographic below.

  • 44% of direct mail is never opened. That’s a waste of time, postage and paper.
  • 86% of people skip through television commercials.
  • 83% of marketers say that Facebook is critical or important to their business
  • The cost per lead in outbound marketing is more than for inbound marketing.

Inbound marketing involves being found by your audience and then earning, rather than paying for their attention, which is done through demonstrating authority, providing engaging content and social interaction.  It’s classic attraction and engagement and your content needs to be interesting, informative and add value, creating a positive connection in the eyes of the consumer, thus making him more likely to engage your brand and buy the product. Sounds difficult right? Well, here’s the good news – it isn’t and it costs less than outbound marketing and has better a ROI.

So what are the critical elements of an inbound marketing strategy?

Clearly social media plays a massive role in the new marketing model, so a clear and preferably customised and branded social media presence is an important factor to get right from the outsetas this gives you a professional platform from which to communicate with your audience.  However, this what really matters is the interaction between you and your potential customer so a social media strategy is essential to ensure you engage your audience on an ongoing and consistent basis via your social networks.  Many larger companies are already taking on dedicated members staff to exclusively manage their social media to ensure they get the most from the customer attraction, retention and reputation management opportunities afforded by these platforms.  However for smaller companies who are struggling to keep up their social networks, our social media management services may be of interest.

The other critical elements are:

  • making sure that you can be found online – so search engine optimisation is obviously of major importance, as is PPC advertising (although this strays into the grey are between inbound and outbound marketing)
  • making sure that when you are found your content is easily accessible no matter what device your customer is using (i.e. desktop PC, laptop, tablet or Smartphone) – so making sure your website is optimised for mobile use, either from the outset or with the additional of a mobile website counterpart.
  • making sure your content is syndicated across the web – nowadays your website doesn’t have to be your only piece of online real estate. One of the great strengths of Web 2.0 is the interconnectedness of the online space. Essentially, your content can be placed across many online properties, not just the social networks like Facebook and Twitter, but also blogging sites such as WordPress.com and Tumblr; article directories like Ezine articles; news aggregator sites; online directories, forums, wikis and numerous other places. All these properties act like gateways to your website and your main online presence so its well worth using as many properties as possible and the great thing is that syndicating your content in this way and placing backlinks to your main website from these gateway sites reinforces your search engine ranking, thereby aiding point 1 above.

This infographic courtesy of Voltier Digital highlights the differences between inbound and outbound marketing. Let us know your opinions in the comments below.

Inbound vs outbound marketing

Why use Social Media Marketing?

Written by localdirect on . Posted in Social Marketing

social media marketingSocial Media Marketing through sites like Facebook and Twitter has taken the business world by storm, bringing a whole new and exciting dimension to on-line marketing.  Most big companies are already using Social Media Marketing in some form or other and lots more are jumping on the band wagon every day.  But it’s not just large corporations who can take advantage of the social media boom.  Social Media Marketing allows you to compete directly with your larger competitors (and smaller ones alike).  So, what could be better?

Social Media Marketing – Facebook

With 750 million members, Facebook is a phenomenally popular social networking site.  Through the use of fan pages, news feeds and groups Facebook provides you with an astounding opportunity to connect with your current customers and market to your future ones in both a local and global arena.  With Social Media Marketing such as this, in addition posting that leaflet through doors in your area, you can post it to the whole world!

Facebook marketing is one of the most powerful tools you can access within the world of Social Media Marketing.  Using Facebook fan pages you can gain the visibility you crave in order to compete with the big boys.  Below is a list of a few things you can do using a Facebook fan page, however, the list is endless.  A bit of creative know-how can provide you with a supply of fresh ideas to make the most of it.

You can;

  • promote an event
  • create brand advocates
  • include a link back to your site
  • add unlimited photos and videos
  • track the number of new Facebook fans, wall posts and ‘likes’
  • talk to your customers and gain valuable feedback through surveys and questions – this can be a priceless piece of market research

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The Advantages of Social Media Marketing

What do you think about when you think of Starbucks?  Obviously coffee comes to mind, but in what setting?  Going for a coffee with a good friend; grabbing that coffee to go on the way to work to make the start of the day more bearable; going somewhere nice and comfy when you’re feeling a bit down?  What Starbucks offers to its customers is not just coffee, a product or a service, it’s an experience.  This same theory can be applied to the use of Social Media Marketing.  What you’re creating is a platform on which to sell your products or services to new and existing customers.  But what you’re also doing is building a rapport with your customers, whereby your brand creates an on-line community which gives your customers a sense of ‘experience’.  This creates a sense of customer loyalty, which, in turn, leads to brand power which ultimately leads to sales of your products and services.

With Social Media Marketing you can allow your genuine passion for what you do or sell to shine through.  This allows people to relate to you and your business which creates the psychological effect of ‘pre-selling’, which can result in a higher conversion rate of visitors to customers.

Social Media Marketing is becoming a ‘must have’ in the world of marketing.  It enables smaller businesses to follow in the footsteps of their larger competitors and use the same marketing techniques as the big boys but without a huge financial outlay.  In many ways, social media is a great leveler as even the smallest business has access to the same tools as the largest multinational.  Yet on the other hand, early adopters of social media are already reaping the benefits of a strong customer-business relationship and there is a clear and ever present danger that the gulf between large and small, early adopters and those lagging behind, will grow.  There is no time like the present to harness Social Media Marketing as sitting on the fence will only allow your competitors to get a head start.  According to a survey conducted by EpiServer, 84% of businesses would rate their own social media marketing efforts as poor or average.  The survey also found that 69% of UK businesses intend to appoint a Social Media manager this year, 41% saying they expect to hire one within the next twelve months and 28% already having one in place.

Perhaps you’ve already started to pursue social media marketing but are feeling overwhelmed by the vast variety of options and are not quite sure where to place your efforts.  LocalDirect are social media experts and have a variety of services aimed at helping small to medium sized businesses set up and manage powerful social media marketing strategies.

Social Media is here to stay so isn’t it time to start making the best use of social media marketing in your business?  Make the most of this golden opportunity to connect with new and existing customers and elevate yourself above your competitors.  According to Payscale.com the average salary of a full-time Social Media manager would set you back any between £47,829 and £78,297, which for many is simply not an option, especially considering the current state of the economy.  But there is an alternative.  With LocalDirect you only pay for the services you want and for how long you want them.  Simply visit our Social Media Marketing Services page to find out more.

New Collaboration Brings Expanded Social Networking Services

Written by localdirect on . Posted in News

social networkingYou may be looking for a company who can set your businesses up with a professional Facebook Fanpage, or a top-notch Mobile Website. You may also be looking for someone to provide you with Social Media Management, and a Social Networking Marketing strategy. Well what if we told you that right now there are two businesses working very hard to bring you everything you need to maximize your Social Networking potential?!

LocalDirect and Cherry Tree Marketing have teamed up to provide your business with a complete Social Networking service, from establishing your online presence to helping you promote your business to a global network of potential customers.

LocalDirect specialise in tech-savvy marketing techniques, be they local, social or mobile based. Facebook Fanpages have been a real hit as more and more businesses recognize the importance of Facebook as a marketing tool for their products and services, and want to portray a professional image via Social Media. Personalized Twitter pages are also available, please enquire within!

Cherry Tree Marketing focus on creative Social Networking strategies for your business. Networking is a real business buzz-word at the moment, with many an evening or lunchtime spent mingling and business card exchanging in the pursuit of business growth. But hang on a second, there is a whole world of potential business contacts at your fingertips – who is talking to them while you’re out sipping coffee??

Social Networking? Social Media?

Right about now you may be thinking that you already have a website/e-newsletter/Facebook page and so why do you need us? Well, please bear with us while we pepper you with a few statistics. Adam Ostrow over at Mashable recently commentated on how Facebook now has a daily active following of 800 million users. Yes, 800 MILLION. Twitter is lagging behind somewhat, but still commands a head-spinning 100 million users every single day. So, it’s fair to say that Social Media is worth getting involved in when you’ve got a business to promote!

In a nutshell, LocalDirect will give you the tools to get you online and looking good in your quest for Social Networking excellence, and Cherry Tree Marketing will show you how to use them to best advantage. Together we can offer your business a wide variety of services to improve your online marketing activity; locally, individually, and very reasonably priced! You concentrate on what you do best, and we’ll do the same!

Aside from the fact that we have a service to sell, the collaboration between LocalDirect and Cherry Tree Marketing is the coming together of two businesses who want to help your small business succeed. As such our core value is to work closely with you and your business, building strong relationships and working towards a shared goal – Social Media Success!

Is Groupon Bad for Business?

Written by localdirect on . Posted in General

is groupon bad for business?Groupon may seem like an easy way to make money and get customers through the door, especially when you read some of their quotes like ‘Learn how a one-day feature on Groupon can bring your business thousands of new customers.’  It seems simple and it sounds great at first, but this quote is misleading.

Yes it may do what it says on the tin, but how many of these new customers come back to your business after redeeming their Groupon?  Not many according to their research statistics.  In fact, 78% of customers NEVER go back to a business after redeeming a Groupon.  While, Groupon obviously provides good value to the customer (who doesn’t like to get up to 70% off something?!) the benefits to businesses are far less certain and many business owners are now starting to realise this.

Of course, Groupon is not the only culprit as there are many other “deal of the day” copycat companies that have sprung up over the last year offering an almost identical service.  The key point is that these daily deal types of offers are not always a win-win situation.  Where businesses would love to see new customers coming in, they also want them to keep coming back for more.  However, this is not in Groupon’s best interests.  If your business builds up a bigger, stronger customer base, you may be less inclined to buy into Groupon deals.

Furthermore, a convincing argument can be made that Groupon does not want your business to succeed.  It wants you to keep buying their coupons so they get 50% of the earnings your business makes through the deal.  And most importantly, Groupon does not share any customers details, e.g. addresses, e-mail addresses, mobile numbers, nor does it provide any help for businesses to do this on their own.  It does not track or provide data to businesses on for example, how often new customers come back to your establishment.

So where does that leave you?  It leaves you, in effect, giving away your earnings, without a guarantee that you will be building up repeat business from the customers.

Doing a deal through Groupon can also be bad for your existing customers.  If a loyal customer sees someone else getting a half price deal it could isolate them.  They may be put off by this and may never come back.  And going back to the statistics earlier, your new customer with the coupon is also not likely to return, adding insult to injury.  In addition, offering large discounts isn’t great for your business’ reputation.

Alternatives to Groupon and other Daily Deal Sites

Fortunately there is another way.  According to a recent survey by HipCricket, 57% of people would be interested in opting in to a brand’s SMS loyalty program.  SMS marketing of this kind can do everything that Groupon cannot.  In other words it can build up a customer database with a widely improved chance of gaining repeat business and you won’t have to share any of your earnings with anyone else.

Furthermore, there is a real opportunity now to enhance your business with SMS marketing as 80% of the HipCricket survey respondents said they have not been marketed to via SMS by their favourite brands. Furthermore, 90% of the HipCricket survey mobile users who had participated in an SMS loyalty club felt they had gained value from being a part of the program – proof that consumers are already crying out to hear from you, so why aren’t you listening to them?

By signing up to LocalDirect today you can start building up your own list of mobile subscribers and begin contacting them whenever you want.  Mobile marketing and the integration of online and offline marketing is the way forward.  LocalDirect make it easy to get the best from SMS marketing and other new technological advances that are becoming widely used such as mobile websites and QR codes, so why not take the opportunity and take full advantage?

We are on the cusp of a new marketing revolution, be among the first to tap into it and reap the benefits.  Click here to view our marketing services and packages.

 

Further reading:

Reuters article

Posies Cafe blog post

 

Text Marketing Best Practice

Written by localdirect on . Posted in Mobile Marketing

text marketing best practiceOver the last year or two text marketing has taken the US by storm.  Yet, here in the UK very few companies have really begun to explore the potential offered by text marketing.  This is even more the case with smaller local businesses, who may feel that this kind of marketing is either too expensive, too intrusive or too complicated for them to integrate with their current marketing efforts.  Yet this couldn’t be further from the truth and it is this type of business which really has the most to gain from text marketing.

Not only is text marketing affordable to local businesses, it also represents great value for money and with LocalDirect’s text marketing dashboard, even the smallest of businesses can run a text marketing campaign like a global corporation. Furthermore, because our system depends on a customers having first opted in to receive text messages from a business, these customers aren’t put out by these marketing messages and, indeed, many actually look forward to receiving these texts.

However, there are some essential practices that a business must observe in order to keep their text subscribers happy.

Text Marketing – Keeping Your Customers Happy

1. Always ask for permission. You will receive far better results and far fewer complaints if your text subscribers were asked to sign up. Avoid simply buying a list of mobile numbers and sending out unsolicited texts. This is no better than the email spam, I’m sure many of you will already receive. Include a call to action for people to opt in for your text marketing campaign wherever you interact with your customers, be it business cards, posters, menus, flyers or email signatures.

2. Include an opt out. With the simplicity of a keyword and shortcode combo (e.g. text JOES to 60777 to receive special offers and events notifications from Joe’s cafe) getting text marketing sign ups is easy. However to be compliant with UK law you should make it just as easy for subscribers to opt out. LocalDirect provide a keyword STOP which will allow customers to easily opt out of your marketing messages so make sure you tell your subscribers every other message or so.

3. Keep things simple. Your text marketing message should be simple and should clearly tell your prospects what it is you want them to do. A strong call to action (e.g. Come to Joes’ tonight and receive 3 drinks for the price of 2) is essential to maximise response rates. If using text marketing as an appointment reminder, make sure it is clear exactly when and where you want your customers to be.

4. Keep it timely. Reverting to our example for Joe’s cafe, it would be silly for Joe to broadcast his text message at 10.00 in the morning. Few people are thinking about what they’re going to do tonight at that time of day. The beauty of text marketing, and one of its significant advantages over other forms of communication, is the immediacy with which messages can be delivered and read. Joe would have a much better success rate if he sent his message out either as people are beginning to think about leaving work or later in the evening if his bar is already experiencing a quiet night.

5. Be honest. Let your subscribers know form the very beginning what they are signing up to and don’t start sending them messages which aren’t related to what they opted in for.

6. Offer an incentive. Keep you subscribers desperate to hear from you by offering them deals which they can’t get anywhere else. They have trusted you with their mobile number so make them feel special in return by offering your best promotions and giving them special access to your events.  A call to action to join a VIP text club is an effective way of gaining opt ins, so make sure you deliver on your part of the bargain.

By following these basic text marketing guidelines you are sure to see success in your campaigns. Of course there are additional tips and tricks you can use for even better results but these will largely depend on the type of campaign you are running and the audience for your text campaigns.

One way to enhance your campaigns is to include links to a mobile website or a mobile flyer within your text marketing. Not only does this allow you to get around the text message character limit, but it also allow enriches your texts with additional content and a visual reference – great for a memorable campaign.

Stay tuned for more mobile marketing tips and tricks coming this way soon.  To ensure you don’t miss anything, sign up to our mailing list in the box on the right to receive updates via email or “like” our facebook page to receive notifications when our blog is updated.

 

5 Profitable Mobile Marketing Tactics

Written by localdirect on . Posted in Mobile Marketing

Mobile marketing tactics
For this first blog post I wanted to share with you 5 of the most profitable mobile marketing tactics which you can easily implement by signing up to LocalDirect. This is by no means comprehensive but serves as some food for thought.

 

1. Short Codes and Keywords

Purchase a keyword on a shortcode number. Shortcode numbers allow you to get the best opt-in rates as the number is easy for your customers to remember and easy to integrate with your existing marketing materials – e.g. adding “text Joes to 60777 to receive special offers from Joe’s bar and for 50% off your next cocktail” to posters, flyers and adverts.
The keyword can be you business name or something memorable related to your business or the current campaign you are running.
By building your opt -in list, you are building a database of your customers which you can communicate with anytime you want to receive up to 30% response rates for your offers or promotions.

 

2. Appointment Reminders

Use text messaging for appointment reminders and schedule these reminders up to 1 year in advance. This will reduce no-shows by 50% or more, allowing you to increase your business income.
Send reminders a day to a couple of hour before the appointment to ensure best results. Just one saved appointment can more than pay for your monthly service with LocalDirect.

 

3. Mobile Coupons

Use mobile promotion and coupons. Everybody enjoys making a saving so make it worth their while to join your mobile subscriber list to receive money off of special offers on a regular basis. Make your mobile subscribers feel like VIPs.

 

4. Mobile Flyers

Digitise your existing marketing by linking your text message promotions to a mobile flyer.  This is essentially a single web page where you can publicise your events or promotions in full colour, sending a much more powerful visual message to your customers than that afforded by a simple text message.
This is also a really good way of sending a longer or more sophisticated message without having to pay extra for a joined up text message.
You can even use these flyers as mobile e-cards for birthdays or special occasions for your patients, clients, or customers. It’s a very thoughtful way to let them know you care and improve customer retention and satisfaction.

 

5. QR Codes

Integrate your online and your offline marketing with QR codes.  These can be used as a sure fire way to quickly build opt-ins for your mobile subscriber list, as a means of allowing your customers to access special deals or as a great way to link to your mobile website from your business cards.

 

This is only a taster of the opportunities presented by mobile marketing. Sign up for LocalDirect’s free trial today and take your first steps towards a whole new world of possibilities.