An online ad campaign shouldn’t be planned with the attitude, “Let’s throw something out there and see what sticks.” Experiment.ly lets you test and measure the performance of many aspects of your ad campaign before you sink unnecessary dollars into your efforts. You can test anything–buttons, text or images–and there’s no need to get a designer or programmer involved. It’s easy to use, with drag and drop features, so you can quickly create different versions of an ad and see which version tests the best. A free version can get you up to 5,000 unique visitors a month. Other payment plans exist if you want a more extensive campaign.Google+
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Posts Tagged ‘small business marketing’
By Rieva Lesonsky
Could you use a boost to your small business’s marketing budget? You’re not alone. According to the 6th annual Staples National Small Business Survey, just two-thirds (66 percent) of small business owners have some type of marketing and advertising budget for 2012. Even among those who do have a marketing budget, amounts are small, with the average budget just over $2,000.
The tough economy has affected marketing budgets. Sixty percent of small business owners say they have changed their sales and marketing efforts as a direct result of the U.S. economy. They are using less traditional media (29 percent) and more viral marketing and word-of-mouth marketing (33 percent) than last year last year. In addition, 35 percent of survey respondents reported that they have increased their social media presence in the past year.
Small business owners have big ideas when it comes to marketing. More than half (52 percent) of small business owners surveyed said that if they had a larger marketing budget, they would invest in more advertising and direct marketing to grow their businesses.
To help, office supply company Staples recently launched the Staples “Give Your Small Business the Push It Needs” contest. (My company is working with Staples on this promotion.) The contest will enable five small businesses to win up to $50,000 each in free television advertising in their home market.
“Investing in marketing to grow a small business is essential, yet many do not have the money to do so,” said John Giusti, vice president of small business marketing at Staples, in announcing the contest. “Staples wanted to do something unique to support small businesses in their local markets.”
Small businesses can enter the “Give Your Small Business the Push It Needs” contest by submitting a 15-second video about their company on Facebook.com/Staples. Five winning small businesses will be chosen to receive 15 seconds of advertising in a 30-second Staples television ad to run in their local market. The prize package, valued at up to $50,000 worth of local cable television airtime, includes $500 in Staples Copy and Print or Staples EasyTech™ services. Winners can choose to receive $50,000 in advertising or $40,000 in advertising and $10,000 in cash.
Learn more about the contest and enter by visiting Facebook.com/Staples.
Image Courtesy StaplesGoogle+
By Rieva Lesonsky
What are Americans doing—and buying—on their mobile phones and tablets? Increasingly, they’re buying products and services. Among smartphone owners, a December survey of a sample of TechBargains.com visitors found 32 percent of women and 25 percent of men made half or more of their holiday purchases via mobile phones, reports Internet Retailer.
iPhone users were most likely to use smartphones to shop. Overall, 34 percent of iPhone users and 20 percent of Android users who made purchases with their phones said they did half or more of their holiday shopping on the phones.
While tablets are relatively new to the party compared to smartphones, they’re already slightly ahead of smartphones as a shopping tool. Among tablet owners, 35 percent of women and 21 percent of men in the survey said that half or more of their holiday purchases were made using tablets. And overall, 75 percent of respondents had made purchases on a tablet, compared to 58 percent who had done so on smartphones and 94 percent who have done so on laptops.
For those who shop with their phone:
- 79 percent use the phone to research products,
- 77 percent to compare prices, and
- 73 percent to browse stores.
Of the 58 percent of shoppers who make purchases via their mobile devices:
- 69 percent use both the mobile browser and apps to buy products,
- 18 percent only use apps, and
- 13 percent only use a mobile browser.
What were users buying on mobile phones?
- 70 percent of shoppers purchased digital goods,
- 60 percent purchased physical merchandise,
- 46 percent purchased services, and
- 38 percent purchased consumable goods.
Of the 75 percent of tablet owners who use their devices to make purchases:
- 90 percent use tablets to browse stores,
- 89 percent research products, and
- 85 percent compare prices.
The iPad has the edge in mobile shopping with 86 percent of iPad 2 owners making purchases via their tablets. However, despite being brand new, the Kindle Fire is close behind, with 74 percent of users making purchases via their devices.
What about people who aren’t using their mobile phones to buy? Of those, 42 percent of men and 38 percent of women said security concerns kept them from buying on the device, while 54 percent of men and 59 percent of women cited problems in completing purchases. Want to capture shoppers’ mobile dollars? Make sure your security is airtight (and that you promote and explain this to users), and make sure your process is simple and easy to use.
Image by Flickr user Charantan Patnaik (Creative Commons)Google+
By Rieva Lesonsky
The just-passed holiday shopping season brought home to small retailers and e-tailers the power of mobile shopping. A recent survey from SapientNitro-GfK took a closer look at just how the growing popularity of mobile devices is affecting consumer shopping behavior.
More than one-third (39 percent) of the approximately 1,000 consumers surveyed said that digital devices have “enriched” their shopping experience during the holiday season. Among younger consumers aged 18 to 24, the percentage was even higher, with 47 percent agreeing.
Consumers also used the word “empowered” to describe how shopping with mobile devices made them feel. Overall, 38 percent said the devices made them feel empowered. Among tablet owners, 56 percent felt empowered; among consumers 18 to 24, almost two-thirds (64 percent) felt this way regardless of what type of device they used.
In addition to actually making purchases, 67 percent used mobile devices to browse for or research items (up from 44 percent in 2010); 60 percent used them to compare prices (up from 40 percent in 2010) and 48 percent used them to look for deals (up from 35 percent in 2010).
The study says GPS-enabled mobile computing is an area to watch for mobile shopping in the future. The survey asked about specific mobile applications and features and found:
- 31 percent use the GPS/location feature on their device to shop
- 30 percent use mobile apps to search for or purchase products
- 20 percent looked or posted something on Facebook, Twitter or other social networks to get advice on products or find products
- 19 percent used a QR code to get information about a product
- 18 percent used a mobile coupon at point-of-purchase
Among tablet owners, however, this behavior was far more prevalent: 42 percent had used a mobile app to shop for or purchase products, and 41 percent had used a QR code to get information about a product.
“Imagine the day when you walk into a store and the retailer already knows something about you based on location-aware services,” said Davey. “The implications for retailers — in terms of targeted promotions or in-store navigation — are fascinating.”
Image by Flickr user Mosman Council (Creative Commons)
By Rieva Lesonsky
Retailers are facing increased competition these days from online merchants. But there’s still one weapon brick-and-mortar stores have in their arsenals that ecommerce sites can’t use: scent. The use of scents in stores is growing, Reuters recently reported, as consumers expect more of an “experience” when shopping.
The technology for scenting stores is becoming more sophisticated, but also increasingly affordable. One expert cited in the story says you can scent a store for under $100 a month.
Scent technology can range from using fragrance-infused ceramic beads and diffusers to spread smells through a small store, or disseminating the scent via the ventilation system for larger stores.
Good scents put people in a good mood; experiments have found that people were more inclined to help others when in an environment with pleasant smells. As for the bottom line, studies have shown that shoppers in a pleasantly scented environment stay longer in a store, which generally translates to spending more money there.
However, determining what scents to use can be a science in itself, since there’s no one universal scent that everyone likes. Food scents tend to be popular, creating feelings of well-being or urging customers in, say, a bakery to buy. For example, popcorn scents typically make customers want to eat—which could be a good thing if you’re selling food, but not so good if it inspires people to rush out of your store for lunch.
If you’re using scents in your store, tread lightly. Overpowering consumers with odors can easily backfire, so make sure whatever scents you use are light and unobtrusive. Until you’re sure of the effects, it’s also a good idea to start with scents that quickly dissipate or can be removed, such as scented beads, as opposed to pumping scent through the ventilation system where it may linger.
Also keep in mind that in today’s allergy-riddled society, many customers are sensitive to fragrance. If your business caters to this kind of customer, perhaps a store that has no scent at all is the way to make the sale.
Image by Flickr user Dennis Wong (Creative Commons)
By Rieva Lesonsky
This past holiday season proved that mobile shopping is here to stay. And a recent Limelight Networks survey of smartphone and/or tablet owners showed that consumers have high expectations when researching and buying products online. A whopping 80 percent of respondents said they will abandon a mobile site if the shopping experience isn’t up to par.
Three-fourths of these customers say they won’t give up on the company altogether—they’ll just visit the site later on a desktop computer. But one-fourth will give up on the company and visit different sites so they can complete their research or purchase. What’s more, 20 percent of consumers said they wouldn’t return in the future to a site that gave them problems on a mobile device.
So what do consumers expect from the mobile research or shopping experience? Here were the top 3 features as defined by respondents:
- 88 percent said the time it takes for the site to load is extremely important or important
- 88 percent said detailed product images on the site (such as being able to “zoom in” on product details) are extremely important or important
- 82 percent said mobile site optimization, or how well the site fits the screen, as extremely important or important
The number of consumers shopping on a mobile device is only going to grow. Already 67.4 percent of those surveyed have used their device to shop online; 83 percent have researched and purchased a product on a mobile device; and 17 percent have just researched.
What does this mean to your business? Increasingly, consumers aren’t drawing a distinction between the mobile Web and the Web. They expect the same level of accessibility, detail and convenience whether they’re shopping from their phone or on their desktop computer. So if you’re still making excuses for why your website is subpar on a mobile device, you’d better stop—because your customers aren’t making excuses for you. They’re moving on to your competition.
Image by Flickr user Ron Bennetts (Creative Commons)