Six Tips for Mobile Marketing to Engage Customers

People love their smartphones. Whether you’re walking down the street or inside a shopping mall, sitting in a coffee shop or at the airport, half the people around you are looking down at their cellphones.

Eighty-three percent of American adults own a cell phone, and 42 percent of them own a Blackberry, iPhone, or a similar smartphone, according to a recent Pew Internet Project report. The study also found that 87 percent of smartphone users access the Internet or email on their device. Two-thirds of smartphone users do so daily. Increasingly, just as how the home broadband connection remains always on, the mobile connection seems to be ever present.

Today’s apps-savvy consumers want business information delivered concisely and available for reading on the fly. Thanks to the explosion of Internet-enabled mobile devices, you and your customers can communicate on the go. Here are six easy ways to deliver on mobile devices marketing that encourages customer interaction.

1. Make Your Emails Mobile-Friendly
Whereas delivering email marketing that can be read on mobile devices used to be optional for a business, now it’s essential. Keep a message’s subject line short and place high up in the message your brand name, the offer, and the call to action.

Keep your email design simple and light on text, and offer a link to your company’s website or Facebook page so a reader can find out more.

2. Give Mobile Customers What They Need
Forty percent of U.S. smartphone owners compare prices on their mobile device while shopping inside a store, according to HubSpot, an Internet marketing firm in Cambridge, Mass. If you do not optimize your site for mobile users, you may miss sales opportunities. The most sought-after information (a company’s hours, locations, and directions) and popular features should be front and center where customers can easily find them. If mobile consumers cannot find the information they need to guide their purchasing decisions, they may click — but then take their business elsewhere.

3. Invite List Sign-ups via Text Message and Quick-Response Codes
Customers entering into your retail establishment probably are carrying their cellphones on them. Build your contact list by inviting patrons to send a text message (if your email service provider offers this feature) or scan a QR code. Put a sign at your cash register to encourage such activity while the shopping experience is still fresh.

A savings coupon or special offer can sweeten the deal for any customers who sign up via text message or QR code. And you end up building your list without having to manually enter email addresses after deciphering handwriting on a sign-up sheet.

4. Build Your Fan Base
Your socially active customers have a Facebook or Twitter app loaded on their smartphones. A sign or poster that encourages them to connect with you in the social media sphere can propel significant growth of your network — and expand your company’s visibility to the contacts of your new followers. Be sure to give customers a good (and fun) reason to like or follow you.

5. Tap Location-Based Services
If you run a brick-and-mortar business or host an event, encourage people to check in on location-based services like Foursquare, Gowalla, or Where. You will gain information about your regular customers and how often they visit you. It also lets your customers share information and tips about your business with others. A unique special offer can encourage these regulars to check in more often.

6. Encourage Reviews on the Run
Encourage customers to share their thoughts about their experience while they are still at our place of business. Post a sign that says, “How’d we do? Let us know!” You can even direct customers to sites like Yelp, Where, Google Places, or TripAdvisor, where you would like them to offer reviews of your business. Make sure you post your company’s Twitter handle, so customers can include it in reviews and follow your business on Twitter for updates. Be sure you stay on top of any customer reviews posted about your company.

More mobile technologies are springing up, enabling businesses and customers to stay connected, regardless of location. Remember: All these gadgets and apps can support your marketing but they should not drive it. You still need to focus your message on how your company provides great products and services. Know who and where your customers are. Then bring the goods to them. Mobile strategies let you package your marketing to better reach them.

Job Training and Skill Sets that Lead to Better Jobs with Higher Pay

While analysts and economists may disagree on the solution to an economic recession, they all agree that job creation and wage rates play a critical role in economic growth. You may be inclined to believe the issue today is a lack of jobs, citing job cuts and layoffs as support. However, the winners of the Nobel prize in economics for 2010 disagree–it may be a lack of proper job training.

Peter Diamond, Dale Mortensen and Christopher Pissarides shared the 2010 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for their work on wage formation through search markets. Professor Diamond is known for his conclusion that higher levels of unemployment insurance can actually lead to job creation, a point hotly debated by politicians. Mortensen and Pissarides are well known for their work in finding a negative relationship between the number of jobs and the level of unemployment.
Applicants Lacking Job Skills Training

These three economists have developed theories which explain how so many people can be unemployed with a large number of job openings on the market. Put together, their work suggests the issue is not lack of jobs, but lack of an efficient market to match employers with the right employee. This is especially the case in terms of skill set. Recruiters and temp agencies believe the issue is not a lack of jobs, but a lack of qualified candidates.

Doug Beabout, CPC, of The Douglas Howard Group believes the skills gap will only grow in the future. “There will be between six and eight million jobs open by 2013, and that’s just representing the jobs that exist right now, with no growth in the economy taken into account,” said Beabout. He continues, “There will not be people in our population who can do these jobs.”

Is Your Business A Lifelong Learner?

Adaptation is a buzzword in the business community because it grapples with the fact that the only thing predictable in life is change.

Adaptation turns upon a simple question: Can your business learn from external events?

A young business succeeds because of its ability to profit from a particular external environment. Energized by its early achievement, the young business is prone to repeat the same practice without regard for change. In short, the successful, young business stops learning as it ages. It risks becoming a victim of its own success.

The solution is to borrow a page from educators and foster systemic lifelong learning in your business. When your business becomes a lifelong learner, it capitalizes upon change. It does this by ensuring that every person in your business’ value network – that collection of customers, employees, suppliers and anybody else who interacts with your business – is a co-producer of value.

While an organizational overhaul requires considerable time and effort, below are two tips that will place your business on a path to lifelong learning.

First, are you resolving customer feedback constructively or productively? Most businesses take a constructive approach to customer feedback. Customer feedback is valued and concerns are resolved satisfactorily. This is good. However, the lifelong learning business goes one step further and focuses on productive solutions.

A productive solution means that customer service experiences are effectively communicated to product development and sales departments. Customer service is not simply a matter of product support to protect a reputation or to preserve customer loyalty. Customer service is a window into why and how your customers use your products. This information will suggest your business’ next innovation or sales pitch. In essence, your customers become co-producers of value.

Second, are your senior managers aligned with your business’ strategy, vision and values? A senior manager without strategic knowledge is not capable of making good decisions in a changing environment. A senior manager without knowledge of the organization’s vision and values lacks the most basic tools to take the right risk at the right time. It is that simple.

In an environment that can only be described as a strategic vacuum, silos evolve naturally; there is no broad interdepartmental co-operation – the production of value through synergy – because there is no sense of context. Your business will not anticipate change, let alone learn from it. Avoid silos by talking with your senior managers about how changes to the external environment affect what your organization is trying to achieve: the wheat of the matter.

At the individual level, lifelong learning requires a voluntary and self-motivated pursuit of knowledge over the course of one’s life. At the business level, lifelong learning needs an organizational structure that treats every node in your value network – including customers and senior managers – as co-producers of value.

Ways a Sales Department Manager Can Utilize His Sales Team to Get Good Performance

A company relies on the creativity and skill of the sales department to drive revenue. The sales manager works with his staff to develop effective solutions to customer issues and create ways to attract new clients. There are strategies that a proactive sales manager can use to utilize the talents and strengths of his sales team to increase overall performance.
Set Goals

Setting goals is used by sales managers to gauge a sales associates’ performance. But it can also be used to maximize team effectiveness. By utilizing a team bonus structure, the sales manager creates a situation where the group becomes responsible for its collective performance. The manager encourages teamwork within the group to help each person reach his maximum possible bonus level and ensures that the team has all of the resources it needs to succeed. Those resources include regular product trainings, a reference library and access to pertinent Internet websites.

Interaction between sales professionals in an atmosphere monitored by the sales manager can be a useful way to exchange ideas. A weekly sales meeting where members of the team are encouraged to discuss any issues they are having with customers, products or internal support problems can help build a sense of teamwork. It can also be used as a way for members of the sales group to encourage each other and offer suggestions to improve performance.
Performance Measurements

Sales professionals are expected to be creative in the pursuit of revenue, but even creative sales people need basic criteria to use as a baseline for performance. For example, if your sales staff engages in outbound calls each day to find new prospects, then you can set a baseline of 25 calls per representative per day. Your sales associates then have a minimum to use as a measuring stick, and you can achieve excellence when they exceed those minimums.

When you give your sales team an active role in determining its own success, you can help to increase awareness of the group’s performance. Delegating responsibility for activities such as monitoring credit issues with the accounting department and maintaining accurate inventory information from logistics to sales professionals will make the group more aware of the way in interacts with the rest of the company. It also helps the sales group to have a more direct influence on important customer issues, such as credit limits and product availability.