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