Thursday, December 13, 2012

Twylah-a new way to tweet

What the heck is Twylah you say?  I was asking myself the same question when I came across this new social media.

Since not too many people know, let's start from the beginning!

What is Twylah?

The company's page states it like this: 
Twylah helps you significantly leverage your Twitter efforts.  Currently, individuals and brands are spending a lot of time on Twitter, and not necessarily seeing direct returns on their investment.  Twylah is a tool that captures the value of your Twitter efforts and allows you to realize true returns.  We do this by creating engaging, navigable websites of your tweets, which we call “Twitter Brand Pages.”
I find this description confusing and incomplete, so I wrote up my own description:
Twylah is a new social media platform that helps keep company tweets organized, relevant, and more searchable on search engines. The personalized pages make it easy for followers to retweet tweets from current to months old, follow the company's other social media sites, and easily search for tweets by topic.  It also allows the company to easily see what tweets are trending, what topics they tweet about most, and gives good statistics about what is being clicked on and when.
To get an idea of what these pages look like, check out one of my company's pages here.  

I believe the greatest benefit to having a Twylah page is that the page helps keep all of your tweets relevant all the time.  Users can easily click on a topic and quickly look through all of your tweets, back through forever.  The site also makes it easy to share all your tweets via other social media sites.  This means that old tweets still have the power to generate more traffic and likes on your facebook, pinterest, and google +.  Another huge benefit is when users get redirected to your Twylah page, they will not be distracted by other people's tweets and may 
(hopefully!) get lost in the endless tweets from the past!  And a final benefit is that a user does not need to sign up for Twylah to view your page and posts; huge for generating traffic and letting people browse your page with no sign up hassle.  

There are still concerns with this platform, however.  My first concern is this social media site has been around since 2011 and I'm just hearing about it now.  I think this fault falls on the laps of the creators as they do not have a Twitter page for their business, nor do they make it easy to find them on other social media.  Their facebook page only has 400 likes.  So, how long will this be around? Hard to say, only time will tell.   And the other main concern is that people have to click on it; meaning that they have to click on the link from your twitter in order to view your Twylah page unless they have one of their own.  I do not personally have a page, but will look into this and report back from my findings from a user standpoint and not a business standpoint.  

I had to read several blogs to get more information and would like to share them here in case you would like additional blogs to look at:

Thanks to all the other bloggers for your help!

Until next week!!


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Importance of Google-ing your Business

Have you ever thought of the importance of looking into what people say about your business online?  Not just on social media where you can see it, but on blogs, customer review sites, and even in the media; your business is being mentioned whether you like it or not!

I just started a new job at a large company in Lansing, Michigan.  Part of my daily tasks are to google the business and see what comes up.  Never thought to do that?  You'd be surprised what comes up!  Besides the simple knowledge of knowing what is on the internet, it is important to correct information or inform your customers of the correct information.  Let's say it's as simple as having the wrong operating on hours up on a website that advertises local businesses.  This is a very simple but quite important correction to make!  But incorrect information can be so much worse than that; articles like this state that a customer that had a bad experience is twice as likely to talk about it than someone that had a good experience; whether their facts are right or not.

When doing research about your company on the web, these websites are key:
1. and
3. Your local newspaper's website
4. Wikipedia
5. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and all other social media sites

Although you cannot remove or change all information about your company, good or bad, it is important to address the issues that you can. You want to ensure that you handle it in the best and most well thought out way you can.  There are some important things to remember as you respond to customers on the web:

1. Always be friendly!  Whether you are responding to a good or bad comment, you want to treat the customer well because once it is online, it is out there for all to see.  The old mantra that "the customer is always right" will apply 99% of the time and can backfire easily if not handled correctly.

2.  Always follow up if you say you are going to follow up.  If you respond to a tweet or facebook post with "I have to check with the manager, but will get back to you", it is important to follow up!  The concern that they were addressing will only be amplified if you do not follow through with your word.  

3.  Remember that traffic and mentions are good! So try to avoid deleting things other people have written (unless you have to of course) and instead redirect them to your website, social media sites, or give them the correct information.  

It is a good thing for people to be mentioning your business online, it's just important to keep tabs on who says what and that the information is as accurate as possible!  Hopefully these simple tips have shown you where to look and what to do with what you find, please let me know if you have any additional suggestions about google-ing your business.  Also feel free to share stories about what you have found and how you handled it!

Thanks everyone, until next time!


"The only thing Google has failed to do, so far, is fail" ~ John Battelle

Monday, November 26, 2012

12-12-12 Promotion Ideas

So this is a short and sweet blog, but a very fun one!  What a neat once in a life time date-why not celebrate it with neat deals and steals at your business?

These deals will obviously vary based on your business, but be creative!  I have a few ideas via WhizBang Training's Facebook page and have also thought of some of my own:

1) Sell baked goods? Price 12 donuts for $12
2) Have a celebration at 12-noon with cookies or pie
3) Raffle off 12 door prizes at 12 minutes after the hour
4) Have longer hours? Run a great sale from 12-12 for one day only!
5) Have more expensive merchandise?  How about buy one get one for $12?
6) Looking to run a longer campaign?  Kick off your 12 days of Christmas sales on that day.
7) Give the first 12 people in your door that day a gift certificate
8) Sell items on your clearance rack for an extra discount: 4/$12 or 3/$12 or 2/$12
9) Do you run a bar or liquor store? How about a make your own 12-pack for $12!

The possibilities truly are endless though, so get creative!  And once you have your idea, make sure you promote it well.  Include it in your email newsletter, post about it in advance on your social media sites, do mailers with your best customers, and advertise it in your store with posters and fliers.

What are your ideas for 12/12/12 promotions?  Please share below!

Till next time,

"You don't want to invent new ideas, not new rules" ~Dan Heath

Monday, November 19, 2012

How often should I email my customers?

The most asked question when it comes to email marketing is: How often should I email my customers?

Once per week?  Once per month?  Three times per month?  Every day?

Well the answer is......yes.

The trick is finding a good balance of emails sent for you and your business.  Over-mailing your list can be damaging; too many emails is an easy excuse to unsubscribe.  And if you send too many in a short time period it is unlikely that someone would read them before you send the next one.  Under-mailing can also be harmful, however, as you want your customers to think about you often.  It is generally agreed that only once per month is not enough but once a day is too much as this article refers to. 

The way I look at it is you need to analyze what kind of relationship you have with your customer and what kind of business you own.  You need to sit down and say to yourself, "If I subscribed to an email list of a company like this, how often would I want to be emailed their sales pitch and updates?".  

Just this week I unsubscribed from a list because I was getting an email every other day for a product I bought once, use maybe once a month, and do not have a plan to purchase again.  On the other hand, I am on the email list of a few retail stores that email every single day and I do not unsubscribe.  I really enjoy the newsletter style email marketing that is once per month; there is always actual content and I find myself reading it every single month I receive one.  

But this is just me.

You need to discover what your customer wants and what they are comfortable with!  There is no harm in asking your customers what they prefer.  You may not get everyone to respond, but at least you would get a little feedback.  Try a facebook post or an email survey to try to get a response and at least a little feedback so you can keep those customers you try so hard to gain!

Unfortunately the answer to the question 'how often' still remains yes.  There is no right or wrong answer; you just need to find out what you and your customers are comfortable with.

Until next time and Happy Turkey Day!

"There are no magic wands, no hidden tricks, and no secret handshakes that can bring you immediate success, but with time, energy, and determination you can get there"  ~Darren Rowse

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Don't forget about the tourists!

As a local business, you do all you can to get your name out in your community.  Whether it be through an ad in the newspaper, through social media, or through a TV commercial, a local merchant's focus is usually on the people that already live an their prospective areas.  But as a business owner, did you ever stop to think how you can advertise to the tourists and visitors?

Many may think of tourists as a lost cause; they will visit what they want to visit and stop where they want to stop.  This may be true in some cases, but more than likely, they will pick up a visitor's guide, check out a tourism website, or stop to talk to the front desk worker at the hotel they are staying at to get more information about what they can see and do.

Since my current location is Lansing, Michigan, I wanted to gather some stats on the business that tourists bring to the area every year just to put some numbers to my point.  Did you know:

  • Tourists spend around $424 million in Greater Lansing every year
  • Lansing welcomes almost 5 million visitors to the area each year
  • Guests pay the region taxes on various services adding $3.7 million in local taxes and $23 million in state taxes
  • The overall result impact of tourism in the area is over $160 million dollars in revenue each year!
  • **Thanks to the Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau for the stats!**

Did you learn something?  I know I did when I first saw these numbers.  This just made me realize how important it is to get your name out to tourists can be!  So the first step may be to define a tourist. Well, a tourist (in my opinion) is anyone who visits an area for a specific amount of time for any reason.  In an area like Lansing, visitors have endless reasons to come here: sporting events, parents visiting their sons and daughters at college, conventions, important legislative events, business meetings, interviews, visit family, and go on vacation, just to name a few!

Now the important question-how does a local business owner reach out to a tourist that may be coming from really anywhere in the world?  Personally, I think being in a visitor's guide is essential for hotels, restaurants, shops, public transportation, and so many other types of businesses.  Maybe place fliers around the local hotels if you are allowed.  Work with other businesses to promote at the same time so you can cover more ground.  Put fliers in the airport. Have fliers at your local visitors center or chamber of commerce. Team up with the university to offer student-parent discounts.  If you are really web savvy  make sure you are up on your search engine optimization so when someone searches "things to do in Lansing" they will find you.  Make sure you are on tourism websites like, chamber websites, area tourism websites (like, local newspaper sites (like, and so many more.  Really the options are endless!!

A good way to test how easy you are to find, put yourself in the shoes of a tourist.  Visit a hotel or the airport and check out the fliers there.  Google your business.  Google "tourism in _______ (your location)". Check out facebook sites that promote businesses to tourists.  Check out the tourism websites and see what other businesses like yours are already on your site and take a look at your competition! And then make sure your act on these findings and get your name out to tourists!!

Overall, yes, it is extremely important to advertise to your potential regular customers (locals) as this is where a large chuck of your income will come from.  However, I hope this helps stress the importance of being available to the people who do not live in this area and will be coming to visit!

What is your experience in working with tourists at your business?  What ideas do you have to advertise to them?

Thanks so much everyone, see you next week!


             "The traveler sees what he sees.  The tourist sees what he has come to see".  ~G.K. Chesterton

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Cash Mobs: long term benefit or short term boom?

The idea of a cash mob is fairly simple:  a locally owned small business sets a date and time where they try to get as many people as they can to come into their store and spend at least $20 a person within that time period.  Usually it is on a week night and lasts about three hours.  

My question today is whether or not events like these have a long term benefit or if they give a small business a boost in sales for just that one day.  To look into this further, I spoke with Derek Drushel from Joey’s Pet Outfitters in Williamston, MI.  Their business just held a cash mob a few weeks ago and I asked him a few questions about the success of the event.

I wanted to analyze the long and short term benefits of doing a cash mob.  First I asked him how successful he thought the event was.  “It went well,” said Derek, “It definitely was a significant portion of our sales that day, and I think it helped our average ticket sale even with people who weren't part of the event because it created a more positive buzz in the store." He followed up by saying, “anytime you can up the overall energy level in the store it's a good thing.”  His answers followed much of the research that I conducted about the short term benefits of cash mobs.  On average, a cash mob will double or even triple a store’s normal sales for the day; it makes sense that an event such as this could have such a positive effect on a small business for that one particular day.

But I wanted to know what he thought of the long term effects of the event.  I asked if he thought he gained any lifetime customers from the event and if he found that many of the people that came to the store that night were new customers. “Unfortunately I don't think it was really a longtime business builder for the majority of folks who came in…it had more of a one-time feel than you would hope,” said Derek.  In the articles that I found online, there was little mention of the long term effects of a cash mob.  I personally believe that most of the people that attend the event would tend to be current customers as they probably will want to support a business they are already familiar with.  It is difficult to get the news out to new potential customers as the way most cash mobs are promoted is usually through social media.  Derek did follow up by saying, “we did add some business, however, from those people that knew about our store, but maybe didn't realize all we had to offer.” So even though their store may not have gained new life long customers, they may have turned occasional shoppers into life time customers through this event. 

So in conclusion, it is really hard to say what kind of benefits-short or long term-a business will have from a cash mob event.  There are things you can do to improve your odds of a good turn out however.  

1) Promote your event via social media, print media, and your local chamber of commerce.  Use as many avenues as you can to promote the event if you want to attract new customers.

2) Promote your event as a “Shop Local” event.  This is a huge trend right now and will be sure to attract at least a few more customers for the event.

3) Don’t forget about your current customers!  These customers are the ones that will most likely become life time shoppers as they already do business with you, so make sure to send them a personal invite to attend.

Best of luck to all of you with this new business trend! Please comment if you have any tips and tricks from your business’s experience with cash mobs.


Thank you to Derek Drushel from Joey’s Pet Fitters for your insight for this blog!  To learn more about Joey’s Pet Outfitters, check them out on Facebook and also on their website.

 “The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It’s as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.” – Nolan Bushnell

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Easy ways to increase the number of followers on your social media sites

Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Foursquare, and more.  With so many social media sites, how can you get more followers with the least amount of time put into each individual social media site? (we are all busy people I know!)

Social media is a free way to advertise your business; easy to use, but unfortunately easy to spend a lot of time on.  So this week I looked into easy ways to increase your number of followers for all avenues of social media.  If you do not have to focus on getting more followers all the time you can focus on putting out quality content, which is usually more important!

The easiest way to advertise your social media sites is through your social media sites-easy enough right?  Send out a Tweet about your Facebook event.  Create a post on Google+ that is about the article you just put up on LinkedIn.  Post about your website on your blog.  Seems simple, but you need to do it right.  An important thing to remember about social media is that many of your followers will be following you on multiple sites.  So to make their “follows” and “likes” worthwhile, make sure to mix up your content and don’t update all of your sites at once.  Remember that when you work with multiple sites, you can increase your search-ability if you change the wording and content of your post on each site.  

Another very simple way to increase the number of followers you have is to make it easy to follow you!  If you have a confusing Twitter handle, make sure to advertise what it is, same with your Facebook name.

Recognize these logos?  Of course you do and so does the rest of the world! Make them accessible and clickable for your followers.  They are free to download on the internet and instantly lets your customers know where they can find out more about you and how they can follow you.  Click here for a great screencast on inserting these cool little logos into your email signature too!  What an easy way to tell your customers (quietly) how to find you, again and again.

Finally, the last recommendation I have is to follow your followers.  If you like them on Facebook, it will show up as a notification and they will be tempted to follow you right back!  Be careful with how far you go with this though and that you agree with how their company promotes itself. People can search who a company follows on many of the social media sites (it could possibly backfire!). 

This will not be the last blog I do about social media by any means, so of course this one will not give you all the answers you are looking for!  I just wanted to outline some simple and easy ways to gain new followers without really doing all that much work.  Getting the followers is step one-using social media effectively is step two and will be on my blog soon!


“All one needs is a computer, a network connection, and a bright spark of initiative and creativity to join the economy.”
                ~Don Tapscott

Friday, October 12, 2012

Do we still need business cards in this digital age?

Yes you must have business cards.  And not just any business cards-nice ones.  Ones that identify your brand.  And ones that you did not get from Vista Print. 

Having business cards says so much about your business and I am going to stress that you must get some!  If a customer asks for a business card it is usually for a reason.  They probably loved your store and/or your service and want to remember that they were there!  Maybe they want to find you on Facebook or Twitter.  Yes, they may throw it away (although you hope they don’t!), but we’d all like to think that is not the case for most customers.  People love free things too, and you may look at it as “just a business card” but some customers will cherish the card and keep it in their wallet for the next time they need a great meal or need to buy a birthday present.  Business cards are a relatively inexpensive and easy way to remind your customers that you exist.

When you do decide to get business cards, plan to spend a little bit of money and a little bit of time into purchasing and designing them.  I cannot tell you how many times I have received the same Vista Print card layout for businesses (I personally rarely remember these businesses and usually do not take their cards).  A customer can easily confuse you with another business, plus they are less likely to even take a card in the first place if it does not catch their eye!  And I’m not ripping on Vista Print…okay, maybe I am a little, but for good reason.  The point I’m trying to make is that you want your customers to remember you and an easy way to do this is through business cards! Use creative shapes and cut outs, round the corners, use a thicker stock, maybe get a cool texture and make them double sided so there is twice as much to look at.  Important things to remember to put on your business cards that also are inexpensive and easy ways to advertise yourself are: your logo, web address, social media icons that apply to your business, and a phone number.  You may also want to add an email address, but just make sure that you actually check it and reply to customers as needed.  And please, please, please check for spelling errors and errors in phone numbers and email addresses!  This is an automatic turn off for customers and makes it hard for them to reconnect to you.

Yes these custom cards will be more expensive, but they will make you more money in the long run-that’s the beauty of it!  It will also help you quickly identify your brand and company.  I’m not the only one that thinks this is important, see the blog below for more ideas about the importance of creating custom business cards:

So the moral of the story?  Order some high quality, creative, and interesting cards and have them available.  Always.  It’s a pretty inexpensive way to help your customers remember your business and stay connected with you past their initial visit!


Give them quality, that’s the best kind of advertising
                     ~Milton Hershey, founder of the Hershey Chocolate Company

Thursday, October 4, 2012

So I'm new at this whole blogging thing, but I want to give it a try! 

The focus of all my blog posts will be marketing.  Marketing concepts, social media, marketing ideas, business marketing, affordable marketing, and really whatever other marketing things I can think of!

I think I am going to take other people's blogs, articles, and ideas and combine them with my own to make this blog most successful.  I appreciate any and all followers and readers and look forward to comments and idea sharing that should follow from my blog posts.

If you have any topics you would like me to research and write about, let me know!  I love suggestions :)

Thanks all,

"Marketing is not an event, but a process . . . It has a beginning, a middle, but never an end, for it is a process. You improve it, perfect it, change it, even pause it. But you never stop it completely."
                                        -Jay Conrad Levinson