Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Is short term growth worth devaluing your brand?

by Bryan Kauffmann, Director of Marketing

I was reading some articles recently that were discussing the pros and cons of “sales” in service based industries.  One company in particular caught my attention – a boutique photo studio.  The owner was discussing that the benefits of having a sale was the increased traffic into the studio, and higher name recognition.  The cons of the sale was that the clientele that was attracted to the service was less loyal, only looking for the best price for the service, and aren’t truly concerned with the quality of the service provided.

How often do we run into the same issue – in order to attract new clients, we feel we have to offer discounts on our pricing to hook them.  By continuing to offer discounts and other promotions, we tend to devalue our services and we end up getting new clients who will leave when they find a similar service at a better price.  This also deters current and past clients from utilizing your services as they know that eventually you will put out a promotion or discount on your services and they will just wait for that to come around.

After reading these articles, I came to this conclusion: The decision to discount may lead to the devaluation of the service you offer, and the devaluation of your brand.

So how do we rectify this devaluation and client perception of our services?  It comes down to these few basic principles:

  • Have a clear understanding of who your ideal client is 
  • Create a plan to market your services to them without discounting your services 
  • Make sure your business model has a plan for client retention.  If you can keep your best clients as loyal clients, you won’t have the same advertising costs in order to attract new clients.  It is always cheaper to keep an existing client than try to get new ones.

Now, having said that, is it wrong to have a promotion? Of course not.  Sales and discounts can be used for rapid new business growth, and retention efforts.  Timing is key though for these promotions.  If you are offering a different promotion every week, or every month, you are training your prospects to wait on buying since they know that if they do, a better deal might come along – and we don’t want that to happen.  Use your promotions to create a sense of urgency and only offer it for a limited time.  Evaluate the impact of the offer you ran against normal business.  Was there a serious lift in business?  Did you create lasting clients? If there wasn’t a noticeable difference, or the clients didn’t last, was the offer worth running?  These are just a few questions to think of as you move forward.

I’d like to sign off with this last thought: Don’t sacrifice your brand or your business through quick revenue generating offers.  The devaluation of your services isn’t worth it in the long run.

TeleContact Resource Services has been in business since 1994, and has served over 3,000 clients. If you are interested in the marketing services that they offer, give them a call at 800-551-0567.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


by Bryan Kauffmann – Director of Marketing - eContactLive, Inc.
How many times have you been in this position – you have come up with and presented an absolutely brilliant idea for a promotion that will be a sure way to bring in new business and boost sales only to have it produce absolutely nothing (or very little)?  As you sit there and sift through the results looking for any miniscule shred of reason as to why the promo didn’t work, wondering how it could have underperformed at this magnitude, clinging to the hope that maybe by extending the offer another day will produce amazing results, just know that you are not alone - we have all had a failed promo at one time or another.

 So what could be the reason for this latest sinking ship of a promo?  We have found that there are a few factors that affect promotions that are out of our control, and a few reasons that we directly control.

1.    Consumer Behavior – This is probably the one factor that everyone wishes they have the most control over.  The ability to make people buy, sign up, donate, participate or whatever the goal for your promo is would be a wonderful thing to have control over. 
2.    The Economy – Every so often there is a downturn in the economy, and both companies and consumers go into panic mode.  Companies want to boost revenues so they can keep their doors open, and consumers want to keep their money in fear of what the future holds.  The increase in the number of promos leads to a devaluation of products and services, and reaffirms in the consumers mind that they were overpaying to begin with. 
3.    Force Majeure – Usually this term is used for natural disasters, but we will broaden the scope to also include acts of terror, war, and other catastrophic events that affect your targeted consumer base.  We know that these events are rare, but do happen, and can affect our marketing efforts.  Unfortunately, we have no control over these situations.

1.    The Offer – Is what we are putting out to our consumer base really what they want?  Have we looked at results of previous campaigns to see what works, or rather, doesn’t?  While we want to provide the best possible offer to our prospects, we need to make sure we aren’t devaluing our brand with the offer. 
2.    Timing of Promotions – How often are you putting out promos?  One thing we all need to remember is that consumers are easily trained, and they will wait for the next “better” offer to come out unless you manage those expectations and only put out promos when you want to make an impact.  Is your business cyclical?  Are your offers in anticipation of the next cycle, or are they reactionary to slow performance? Do you advertise around the holidays?  Depending on your business, this may not be the best time. 
3.    Expectations – Have you over-promised on the results prior to launch?  When setting the expectations for the promo results, have results from previous offers similar to this new campaign.  If the offer has never been run before, and no other offer you have done has been similar, don’t set high expectations – you may be disappointed.
4.    Anticipation – Promotions can be exciting to think up and launch.  The anticipation of phenomenal results can cloud your view of reality when it comes to analyzing the results.  This closely ties into managing the expectations.  Many times we have put out a promo with dollar signs in our eyes, and have been disappointed in the results – even though we may have come out with a positive ROI. 

Now, those last few points were not an all inclusive list of issues we can run into, but they do cover some very vital issues that we have all run into at one time or another. 

So how do we make every promo a “home run”?  To be quite honest, you will put out promos that – much like a toddler – will fall flat on their face.  Some of the best campaigns I have run haven’t had an offer – just a great headline and some amazing image to tie it all together. 

One thing I like to tell people putting together any offer – if you are having fun putting it together, if it sells you on the product and/or service, and if you don’t feel hesitant about putting it out then go on and push it live!  If there is any doubt though, address the issue and find out why there is push back.  It may be that the concept is theoretically a great one, but just won’t relate or translate to your ideal consumer.  It is better to work out the kinks before you feel like you put out a brilliant offer, but the consumer response tells you otherwise.  Remember that you are not your target consumer.  The marketing doesn’t have to appeal to you – it has to appeal to the general public – and they are a tough crowd!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

"It Takes Money to Make Money!"

Article by Bryan Kauffmann, Director of Marketing
eContactLive, Inc. Oct.2012.

We hear a lot about the economy these days - claims as to who is responsible, who is most likely to fix it, and where we need to make sacrifices. For those of us who are involved in running a business, I am sure we have all looked at areas where we can cut back. Often times we have cut the wrong areas and end up hindering our growth. Many companies drastically cut their marketing budgets when the economic turn happened. In 2009, the company I was working for actually cut 75% of their marketing team (I, thankfully, was not a part of that cut), and reduced their marketing efforts. Unfortunately, that was the norm at that time for many companies across the country. Without strong marketing teams and strategies, many companies could no longer sustain the growth they had been accustomed to in the previous years, and many small businesses suffered – even closed.

Growth. Did you catch that? In the same segment where I was talking economics, cutbacks, and sacrifice, I mentioned growth. It is possible to grow even in times like these. How? I’m glad you asked. While competitors have cut back on their marketing, you simply keep marketing at the same level – or get aggressive and do more. Get, and keep, your name in front of your competitor’s clients, and earn their business.

There’s an old adage that states “It takes money to make money.” While it may take a bit of a leap to invest more money into marketing, the more you invest, the greater your return can be. For example, the average ROI our clients see is in the 200-400% range. We even have clients who are seeing over 10,000% return on their marketing investment – in an economic downturn. They kept their marketing going, increased their marketing, and are now reaping the rewards of their investment.

Obviously, every business has their own plan laid out for marketing. If that plan is cutting back on marketing, losing market share, and letting the competition take their business, then that is their choice. On the other hand, if they are looking to grow, take over the competitions business, and see a positive ROI, then we are here to help.

So what are you doing? Are you growing, staying the same, or cutting back? If you are looking to increase your marketing efforts and start growing, or are looking for a partner to help with your marketing strategies, call us today and our dedicated Account Management team will be able to help you! 800-551-0657.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Top 5 Things You MUST Consider When Outsourcing Your Lead Gen Efforts to a Telemarketing Company

Over the years that we have been in business, we have had many prospects and clients ask us what to look for when choosing a marketing company to work with. We have put together a "Top 5" list of what to look for when choosing your marketing partner, or really any company with which you are looking to conduct business..
How Long Has the Company Been in Business? This is an important factor to look at when choosing a marketing partner. If a company is new, do they have the experience, and the processes in place to be successful for you?
BBB Rating - This is always a good measuring stick to go by while you are doing your research. The higher the rating, the more trustworthy the company is. Look at the complaints against the company, and how they were eventually resolved.
Know the Business Structure and Employment Practices of the Firm You Select (or you could end up with an employee you didn't know you had!)
Start-ups or un-incorporated firms will sometimes illegally or mistakenly classify their employees as "Independent Contractors", perhaps in an effort to avoid paying taxes and Worker's Compensation Insurance on their "Employees". If there is ever a claim for injuries or wages, the "Employee", or even the firm you contracted with, will likely come after whomever has the deepest pockets. Even if you win the claim, there will be substantial costs incurred to litigate the dispute.
For further information, see the IRS publication HERE and speak with your CPA about how to classify and report payments for services rendered to an un-incorporated individual or entity, ESPECIALLY if the potential payee utilizes Independent Contractors to fulfill their contractual obligations to you. Do your due diligence!
Do They List Client Testimonials? Reading through the testimonials listed on the company website is a great indication of how well the company is regarded by their clients.
Proven Results - Any company can say they can produce results. Can they back up what they are saying with actual numbers? Do they have examples of similar clients and industries to compare your campaign to?
TeleContact Resource Services has been in business for over 18 years. This has allowed us to work for companies representing over 50 different industries across the nation. There is not an issue we haven't run into and been able to solve when it comes to a marketing campaign. To learn more about what we have to offer call us at 800-551-0567 or Fill Out Our Form.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A look at Local Internet Marketing

Every day millions of consumers are searching for local products and services on search engine directories such as Google, Yahoo! and Bing. In fact, there are over 1 billion local searches conducted each month across these search engines, and it’s estimated that 86% of individuals who research local businesses online will follow up with a phone call or in-store visit. The trick to mastering local internet marketing, however, lies in the ability to get listed on the first page of these search engines.

Typically a user who types in a search query with a local identifier, let’s pretend it’s “mechanic San Francisco”, can see up to 7 results for local mechanics in the surrounding areas. Since the search engine’s primary goal is to serve up listings that are most relevant to what the consumer is seeking, it is very rare that a consumer will actually go past the first 10 local listings before they find a mechanic they are looking for and either click through to his website, or place a call directly. Often, consumers associate quality of company with search ranking, and thus the companies who enjoy top 10 rankings stand to get the bulk of the website traffic, and consequently, the majority of the business.

So how do you get your company to be listed within those first 10 spots? The answer is Localized Search Engine Optimization, or as we call it LSEO. Essentially, LSEO is the process of formatting your website to meet the technical quality standards issued by the individual search engines, and then work to continuously develop fresh content and build inbound links which enhance your website’s reputation. If done properly, you can propel your company’s local listings in as soon as one month’s time. For example, in May 2010, we experienced our most dramatic success yet, when we took a small business from the 49th ranked local position on Google to the 4th local spot in only 2 weeks time! They have since had their listing shown over 3,500 times, seen a more than 200% increase in website traffic, and received numerous phone calls for their services.

If any of that explanation sounded like technical jargon that you want no part of, we have a solution for you too. The Local SEO team at TRS has proven experience helping small and mid-sized businesses harness the power of Search Engine Marketing. Our expert staff can diligently manage your online listings across Google, Yahoo! and Bing to help increase your rankings and give you access to consumers who are actively searching for your products and services. Best of all, unlike traditional print media, online marketing solutions are completely transparent so you can track everything from number of ad displays, to website clicks, and even phone calls – making your ROI calculations easier than ever!

Interested in learning more? Contact one of our Web Marketing Consultants today! 800-551-0567

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Small Business and Online Marketing - A Changing Landscape

by Bryan Kauffmann

Small businesses are closing at an overwhelming rate due to the economic climate. Often the fine line between survival and closing is reliant on the amount of marketing of the business is actually done. Unfortunately, when faced with a choice of where to cut in the budget, the marketing is usually the first to go. This should not happen – and smart businesses know this, and put their marketing budget toward a more cost effective and targeted channel – online marketing.

A Changing Landscape

In November, 2010, Ad-ology Research conducted a survey of over 750 small businesses to see where their marketing budget would be spent in 2011. The results showed that more small businesses will be putting their budgets toward e-mail (72.7% in 2011 vs. 56.6% in 2010) and website development (70.5% in 2011 vs. 57.7% in 2010).

What this shows us is that online marketing is becoming the way companies promote their goods and services. Traditional forms of marketing are not going away – there will still be direct mail pieces sent, flyers printed, telephone directories used, and billboards utilized, but overwhelmingly there is going to be great growth in the online marketplace.

Benefits of Online Marketing

Why would a company want to market online? First, there is a greater reach to consumers, and more opportunity for growth. According to Google, over 85% of consumers are going online first when looking for products and services - totaling over 16 billion search queries a month. Secondly, of the over 20 million registered businesses in the U.S., only about 5-10% have any type of online presence, and only a small percentage of those are doing anything to market their company online.

Online marketing is not just limited to having a website, and marketing that, or an email campaign to prospects and clients. There is also a great push toward the utilization of social media. For businesses that are following a business to consumer model, social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are an excellent source to get new business as well as connect with your current clients. Social media sites gather personal consumer information at sign up that businesses can use to target their ads. These ads cost a fraction of what it does on a major search engine. Also, social media sites allow a quick update to your “followers”. Posting relevant, timely information can establish a company as an expert in their field, and who doesn’t want to be known as an expert in their own field?

With such a large untapped marketing space, there is great opportunity to grow. No longer do small businesses have to focus on their own backyard for customers - their reach is only as limited as they want it to be. With the right marketing strategy, their small business can change from a struggling shop to a profitable entity quickly.

Analyzing costs

As with all comparisons, it turns into a question of numbers and dollars. Small businesses using a traditional form of marketing can spend over $10,000 on a direct mail campaign, see less than 1% response, and then a smaller closing rate, and consider the campaign a success. If they took that same $10,000 and invested it in online marketing they could see a much higher exposure, greater contact rate, and much better closing rates because they would be targeting to the consumer who is specifically looking for their goods and services. For example, one of the companies I have worked with wanted exposure for his website. In one month, and for under $1,000, his web traffic increased over 20,000%. Another client I worked with saw a 500% increase in web traffic when he started utilizing an email campaign.

Online marketing is a powerful tool, allowing small businesses to compete with, and beat their competition. Those who take advantage of the opportunities have a greater chance of success over those who continue to use more traditional forms of marketing. As the landscape evolves, and new opportunities arise, what is your small business going to do to succeed?