XL Web Services Blog

Where to Advertise Your Text Message Marketing Campaign

People get excited when I talk to them about SMS marketing and how effective it can be. The next question I get when they sign up is, “how do I get people to sign up for my SMS campaign?” That’s the million-dollar question. Fortunately there are many ways to market an SMS campaign. 

The easiest place to advertise your SMS campaign is on social marketing sites like Facebook and Twitter. Post your campaign on your Twitter and Facebook  as often as seems appropriate. This could be daily or weekly, depending on how active your social media audience is. To get your social media followers to sign up for your SMS campaign, XL Messenger provides an opt-in sign up page or a Facebook widget to collect mobile numbers. 

The next place to advertise your SMS marketing campaign is your company website, especially if your customers are visiting your website to place orders. I personally love to shop online and visit all sorts of websites for my favorite retailers and restaurants. I would certainly sign up to receive discounts from these companies on my mobile phone if the opportunity presented itself. Adding a quick and easy sign-up form or clear instructions on how to opt-in will help convert your website visitors into SMS campaign subscribers.

Email newsletters and direct mail are other important ways to market your SMS campaign. In postal mail, add a QR code linking to a sign-up form. Customers receiving your letters can use their smart phone’s QR code reader to easily get to the online sign-up form. 

QR codes can also be used at your business location to encourage subscribers. For example, if your business is a restaurant, consider also adding a similar QR code to table tents. I love going out to eat and I have a few places I visit monthly. If restaurants I like provide discounts through SMS campaign, I am encouraged to visit more than simply once a month. Promoting to existing customers through SMS will make them become more frequent customers.

You can also advertise your SMS marketing campaign in traditional marketing methods, like flyers, storefront window, shirts, newspaper ads, and radio ads. 

Get creative with your marketing. SMS is a unique and powerful way to increase sales and produce loyal customers. With creative thinking, marketing your SMS campaign and gaining subscribers can come easily.

4 ways to provide old fashioned customer service in a high-tech world

In today’s high tech world we are often so caught up in email, text and social media that we lose sight of the real people behind those accounts. Those people are our clients and customers who appreciate a face-to-face meeting. They appreciate when a real person answers the phone and they appreciate timely professional responses to requests. Combining technology and old fashioned customer service will help you and your business to be at the top of your game.

Here are four ways to combine technology and old fashioned customer service:

1. Face to Face Meetings: Being able to see each other is a way to build trust so why are you solely communicating via email and text with your clients?
Most businesses are on tight budgets. Whether meeting a prospective client or training your team in another state or country, face-to-face meetings are important. Skype is a FREE way to have face-to-face meetings without incurring travel expenses.

2. Response time: How many times have you emailed someone and not gotten a response for weeks or months? It happens more than we realize and it makes for bad business. Clients want and expect a response within 24-48 hours. Set your out- of-office or auto-responder if you are not available for more than a few hours. Responding promptly could be the difference between keeping and losing a client. They will appreciate your effort.

3. Be the Solution Creator by getting to know the client. Ask questions, research and offer resources that will benefit their business. This could be as simple as emailing an article on a topic of interest. Those actions illustrate you’re listening to them and working to create solutions even when you’re not in front of them. Creating solutions is an effective way to impress and retain clients.

4. Going above and beyond client expectations can be as simple as picking up the phone instead of emailing back and forth for hours. You want to use technology to your advantage. Offer resources like video conferencing and webinars to teach or present to clients. Ask whether they prefer email, phone or texting as the primary form of communication. Little things add up to happy, retained customers.

Delivering customer service and being a solution provider make you an asset to any business.



Twitter Time


Do you know the best time to tweet?  Experiment with your tweets.  Try tweeting at various times over the course of two to three weeks.  Watch your results to determine if you’re reaching the followers you want to reach.

Logic suggests that no matter what your audience, one of the best times to tweet is 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time.  Why?  You will hit peak social media times in three time zones.  People on the west coast are just starting their day.  East coast folks are at lunch while Londoners are at the end of their business day. 

Also consider repeating your tweets.  Most people check their tweets around the same time every day so are unlikely to have an issue with repeats.  Use repeat tweets to drive traffic.  For example, if you have a new blog post, use Hootsuite to schedule your tweets every 8 hours or 3 times in a 24 hour period for maximum traffic.

Social Media and Your Online Reputation




Do you really know how you appear to prospects?  Gone are the days when eye contact and a firm handshake made your first impression on a potential client.  In this brave new world of the digital age, the first encounter prospects will likely have with you will be through search engines.  It’s an important concept to keep in mind as you create and build your online reputation.


Reality Check

Run a Google search using your name and industry.  This is likely to be the first thing people see regarding you.  Remember that old MySpace account that you haven’t touched since 2008?  The one with the pictures from that trip to Mexico with your old college chums?  It may not be the best first impression.  It’s time to delete dormant account profiles and restrict privacy settings on current accounts.  Keep your business and personal accounts separate.

Establish Presence

Social media is a great way to build your online reputation.  Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, blogs and other social media outlets score high in Google’s search algorithm.  Be sure to keep your reputation in mind when building your profile.  Include search words in your bio and descriptions.  Remember that by engaging in conversations, you keep your name and your reputation relevant.  Keep in mind that the adage for the digital age may well be:  Content. Content.  Content.  Create a photo album. Upload videos.  Create podcasts.  Maintain a blog.  Blogs are also especially helpful in establishing you as a thought leader in your industry but all of the above demonstrate desire, commitment and creativity. 

Maintenance

Once you’ve established yourself online, you’ll still want to know what’s being said about you.  Google Alerts is a free service that notifies you by email of any mentions of you.  This allows you to have a good feel for where you reputation stands and make you aware of any potential problems.  You don’t need to delete negative feedback but you do need to respond to it.  This demonstrates both maturity and your seriousness about customer satisfaction.

Facebook VS Google

Facebook has been king of the social media mountain for quite sometime now.  But let’s face it, Facebook was designed to connect us with our friends, family and those people from grade school we’d forgotten about until that Friend Request showed up this morning.  Facebook has taken flak for its lax privacy rules.  Most recently, Facebook, hacker group Anonymous has threatened to take Facebook out over privacy issues although they haven’t said exactly how they’ll attack.





Google+ has already made a big splash in the social media world for personal users who like its more stringent privacy rules.  Google has also recently confirmed that they soon offer Google+ business profile pages.  The potential is huge for small to mid-size businesses.  Google+ is still very much the new kid on the social media block, but it has all the right things going for it.  When the business pages for Google+ are launched, it will be interesting to see how quickly it catches up to (and maybe even surpasses) Facebook’s business pages. 

Check out why PC World thinks Google+ will beat out Facebook for business users:

http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/235272/why_google_business_profiles_will_trump_facebook_pages.html

For more information on social media, reputation management, or marketing for your business, contact us. We can help you decide what direction to take for your business and help you build your online community! 

What’s In A Twitter Following?

There have been a number of stories in the news recently involving Twitter and political figures. GOP 2012 hopeful Newt Gingrich has boasted of having six times the Twitter followers of all the other GOP candidates combined. For the sake of comparison, Newt has over 1 million followers while Lady Gaga has over 12 million. But what exactly do those numbers mean? For someone trying to establish high numbers, such a political candidate or a pop star, they don’t worry too much about their message getting out. They just want followers.

Building a huge following is like screaming into the Grand Canyon. There’s plenty of space but is anyone really listening? In the case of Gabrielle Giffords, CSPAN announcers were listening. I was watching live when the announcer’s voice broke in to explain why thunderous applause had suddenly erupted on the floor of the House. Her triumphant return to the House floor had been announced on Twitter just minutes before she appeared to cast her vote on raising the debt ceiling. That quickly sparked rumors about her possible run for re-election.

Political campaign donors are looking to bet on a sure thing. A large number of followers can be one way to measure popularity.

Social Media For Business



Do you see social media as a toy intended for teenagers or for forty-somethings to reconnect with long, lost buddies before that next big reunion? Did you know a growing segment of social media users frequently check and update their Facebook and Twitter accounts from their smartphones on a regular basis? But can all that tweeting and liking work for your business?

Here a few things to consider:

• Cost Effectiveness
The bulk of the cost of social media is spent on the time and human resources of managing your online marketing. Compared to print, broadcast or even online marketing, social media is far less expensive and in many ways more effective.

• Customer Feedback
Social media offers a quick, easy way for customers to share their experience of your company. Positive feedback including comments and “likes” demonstrate to potential customers the value your company provides. Any negative feedback offers the opportunity to win back a dissatisfied customer with a prompt response to their experience.

• Engagement
The biggest draw of social media is the feeling of being connected and engaged. Being engaged with your customers goes beyond merely collecting their demographic information. As you build your company’s social media presence, you demonstrate that you care about your customers. You want their opinions, are willing to take suggestions and will work to correct any misunderstandings. Your responses to both positive and negative feedback will build your company’s reputation as a company that listens and responds.

• Keep Tabs On Your Competition
Social media allows you to keep an eye on what your competition is doing. It also allows you to see how people are reacting to it. What’s working or not working for them? Can you build on it?

• Thought Leadership
By posting on industry expertise and knowledge, people will view your company as a resource they can trust.

One final thought: most users will ask for a referral from their friends on social media before looking anywhere else. So, love it or hate it, social media is here to stay. Why not take advantage of it?

Welcome to my Blog!

This is my first blog post on this website - this online business to be exact!

Feel free to grab a cup of tea and a cookie, put your feet up and take a look around. You'll find heaps of great content and information about my business, and there's plenty of goodies.

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Some Philosophical questions