Marketing Tip #17 | How Smart is Smartphone Marketing?

Some Smartphone Stats

According to marketing research powerhouse Nielsen, as of February 2012, almost half (49.7%) of U.S. mobile subscribers now own smartphones. This is up from only 36% just one year ago.

Android or iPhone?

Android and iPhone are running neck-in-neck with 48% of today’s smartphones running on Android operating system

How are we using our smartphones?

Chart and statistics by Nielsen

This is the first in a series of tips on marketing to smartphone users. Coming next: 4 ways you can use smartphone marketing.

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Marketing Tip #16 | Who’s Sending Your Emails | How to Boost Company Brand Easily

Who’s Sending Your Emails? 

How many emails did you send last week? Bet it was more than a handful.

Won’t it be incredible if you could increase your company’s brand recognition with each of those emails?  You can – and it’s easy!

In an email inbox, the first thing recipients notice is the name listed in the “From” column. Next they scan the “Subject” line. If they recognize the “From” name as a valued connection, recipients will often open the email regardless of the Subject line.  If the Subject line is interesting, recipients may open the email regardless of who sent the email (though most will check the “From” to ensure the email isn’t spam).

Below is a snapshot of how several Reciprocate Marketing Tip emails look in an Outlook mailbox:

Notice that the Marketing Tips are sent From “Karen Emanuelson & Reciprocate LLC.”  We use both Karen’s name and the company name for several reasons:

  1. Many Reciprocate email subscribers have attended at least one of Karen’s presentations and recognize her name.
  2. Others know the Reciprocate name from our presence on social media and the Internet.
  3. By using both in the “From” area, we take advantage of existing name recognition.
  4. Karen’s name recognition is increased with each email.
  5. Reciprocate’s brand recognition is increased with each email.

You can easily build your company’s name recognition by including it in the “From” of all your correspondence. Consistently apply this “From” address to all your email accounts, including those that are generated by your computer, tablets and mobile devices.

By adding your company name to your emails “From” field, you’re on your way to increasing your brand recognition with every email you send.

Marketing Tip #15 | 25 Easy Marketing Tools

25 Easy Marketing Tools  

Marketing isn’t hard. It doesn’t even have to cost a lot of money.

But marketing does take some thought and time – and a strategy.

Below are 25 easy marketing tools to consider for your small business. All can serve to promote your company, products, and services when incorporated into your overall marketing strategy.

  1. Business cards
  2. Email signature block
  3. Vanity phone number
  4. Ads on Craigslist
  5. Your name tag
  6. Employee attire
  7. Satisfied customer reviews
  8. Direct mail
  9. Attendance at trade shows
  10. Business directory listings
  11. Create an E-book
  12. Your company value proposition
  13. Event sponsorship
  14. How you answer your phone
  15. Media contacts
  16. Personal and organization memberships
  17. Your elevator pitch
  18. Pay per click ads
  19. Branding on your vehicle
  20. Product placement
  21. Activity on LinkedIn
  22. Reciprocal partnerships
  23. Referrals
  24. Be a radio talk show guest
  25. Email campaign

Reciprocate can help with any – and all – of these marketing tools. Contact us today for a free consultation and we’ll talk through the options that make the most sense for your organization and budget.

Marketing Tip #14 | Turn Business Cards into Dollars

Business Card Marketing

Turn Business Cards into Business Dollars

You probably have at least one box of business cards sitting in your desk. Here are a few simple ways to turn those business cards into business dollars.

  1. Set a weekly goal for the number of business cards you will give to leads. If you give a card each time you receive a card, you can easily track the progress toward your goal. As an added bonus, when you get back to the office, invite these new contacts to connect with you on LinkedIn.
  2. To help meet your distribution goal, keep a supply of business cards in your wallet, car, briefcase, gym bag, computer case, and desk. Be sure to use business card holders so your cards stay crisp and clean.
  3. Provide family, friends, neighbors, and satisfied clients with a few cards each so they can more easily pass along a referral and your contact information.
  4. Depending on your industry, product and service, consider posting cards on bulletin boards in local coffee shops, community centers, libraries, colleges, and even Laundromats.
  5. Think outside the box and use guerrilla marketing techniques.
    A yoga instructor we know has successfully marketed her services by periodically visiting local book stores and leaving her business cards inside yoga and health-related books.

Your business cards can be one of the most productive marketing collateral you use. Consider them the seeds of your business, and scatter them widely.

This is the fourth in a series on Business Card Marketing. Read the rest of the series by clicking here.

Creating an Effective Call to Action

Whether you are working on a new brochure, email campaign, business card design or web page for your small business, you need to include an effective Call To Action (CTA).

What is a CTA?

A CTA is a phrase that encourages your reader or website visitor to take an immediate action. The graphic on the right depicts several Call to Action buttons found recently on the Internet.

Creating an Effective CTA

An effective CTA gives your audience a reason to interact with your organization.  When creating a CTA, put yourself in your reader’s or visitor’s mindset. They are probably thinking “What’s In It For Me?”

Effective CTAs include a specific request, usually in the form of an action verb, with an added sense of urgency. Add words like “Now” and “Today” to your CTA.

  • Some examples:
  • Watch now
  • Buy now
  • Subscribe today
  • Offer expires April 30
  • Order now to receive a free gift
  • Register today and save 30%
  • Call today
  • Download now

An effective CTA offers a specific customer benefit, usually something of value, in exchange for the action. Tell them what benefit they will get by clicking the call-to-action:

  • Free information
  • A discount
  • Free shipping
  • An exclusive opportunity
  • An e-book

An effective CTA takes readers and web visitors directly to the promised benefit.  It is especially important that CTAs on your website take visitors to an exact web page that specifically delivers the promised benefit.

Want to learn more?

Promotion Idea: 31+ Unique April Holidays

Marketing can be a bit tricky. How can you bring in new customers, keep a fresh and positive relationship with loyal customers, and have some fun?

Reciprocate has thought about this too. What better way than to celebrate every day in a fun and unique way! We’ve got some ideas to get you started:

April 5 is National Deep Dish Pizza Day. Do your customers love pizza? Find out by starting a discussion about favorite pizza toppings. Or, poll your loyal customers a few days in advice. Then, on April 5, run a poll and have everyone vote on the best pizza topping choices. Give a discount to the loyal customer who gets the most votes!

If pizza doesn’t get your mouth watering, try taking advantage of April 13, Scrabble Day. Post some unique scrabble words on your website and challenge customers to guess the definitions without a dictionary. Or have your customers share their favorite Scrabble words.

If Scrabble Day is too wordy for you, April 19 is Get to Know Your Customers Day. Use this day to connect with your customers, offer discounts, and share a little bit about yourself.

Month-long Celebrations

Tackle Your Clutter Month

National Humor Month

National Autism Awareness Month

Holiday Weeks

National Reading a Road Map Week – (Week 1)

National Networking Week – (Week 2)

National Volunteer Week –April 15-21

Daily Holidays

1 – April Fool’s Day

2 – National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day

3 – World Party Day

4 – Paraprofessional Appreciation Day

5 – National Deep Dish Pizza Day

6 – National Walk to Work Day

7 – International Beaver Day

8 – Easter Sunday

9 – Name Your Self Day

10 – International Be Kind to Lawyers Day

11 – International “Louie Louie” Day

12 – International Day of Human Flight Day

13 – Scrabble Day

14 – International Moment of Laughter Day

15 – Take a Wild Guess Day

16 – National Healthcare Decisions Day

17 – National Cheese Ball Day

18 – Wear Your Pajamas to Work Day

19 – Get to Know Your Customers Day

20 – National DNA Day

21 – Record Store Day

22 – Earth Day

23 – Talk like Shakespeare Day

24 – Teach Children to Save Day

25 – International Guide Dogs Day

26 – Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day

27 – Arbor Day

28 – Save the Frogs Day

29 – Pinhole Photography Day

30 – National Honesty Day

While these are just a few ideas, we’re sure you have some great ones too! But if you don’t like the holidays listed, feel free to make your own! Celebrate your business’s anniversary each year by offering a discount. Whatever your ideas, use them to your advantage and start marketing your business.

Marketing Tip #13 | Creating the Perfect Business Card

Business Card Marketing

Creating the Perfect Business Card
Business cards come in many styles, colors and textures. To create the perfect business card for you and your company, there are several best practices you should consider.

The perfect business card:

  • Reflects your business attitude — playful, trustworthy, competent
  • Showcases your name, your company name, logo and tagline
  • Serves as a mini billboard for your company, products or services
  • Includes a Call To Action
  • Gives people a reason to hold on to your card

Here’s how:

  • The tagline should speak directly to your customer and help distinguish your business
  • The information should be in a color and font that are easy to read
  • In addition to your company logo, consider including logos (with permission) that might lend credibility to your business, such as trade associations, chamber of commerce, or Better Business Bureau
  • Add value to your business card by including a discount or coupon code
  • Print your cards on a paper stock that can be written on
  • Use the back side to hand write a personal note or print something unique to your industry, a calendar, or list of your services

Click here for a free 10-point Business Card Checklist and our free analysis offer.

This is the third in a series on Business Card Marketing. Read the first two by clicking here.

Marketing Tip #12 | What Your Business Card Says About You

Business Card Marketing

What Your Business Card Says About You 
Take your business card out and have a good look at it. What does it say about you?

Anyone can plunk down $20 at the local office supply store and purchase a batch of business cards.  But your business card should do more than state your name and contact information. Your business card is a vital part of your marketing effort.

Here’s how:

  • First impressions are lasting impressions. Your card is your brand.
  • Use “white space.” Don’t cram so much on your business card that everything runs together.
  • A card that’s ugly, dirty, printed on perforated paper or has another company’s website on the back screams unprofessional amateur.

Effective business cards are:

  • Clean
  • Creative
  • Professionally printed
  • Visually attractive
  • Two-sided

An effective business card containsaccurate, powerful words which describeyour business, products and services. It entices people; it doesn’t bore them.

How does your business card stack up?

This is the second in a series on Business Card Marketing. Be sure to watch for the next tip which will include a link to a Business Card Checklist.

Marketing Tip #11 | Build Your Network with 5-Step Business Card Marketing

5-Step Business Card Marketing

 Increase the Power of Your Networking

The practice of swapping business cards at networking events is a great way to make an introduction and to leave a lasting impression. Learning to use these cards effectively can increase the power of your network.

Step 1: Ask those you meet a simple question: “Do you have a card?” Chances are, they will offer you their card and ask for your card in return.

Step 2:  Always have a supply of your business cards with you, whether attending a networking event or even a kids’ school function. You never know where you might meet someone who can increase the power of your networking.

Step 3: After the event or at the end of the day, review the cards you’ve collected. Jot notes on the back of the cards to remember key information about each person.

Step 4: Spend the next few days building your network by inviting each of your new contacts to connect with you on LinkedIn. Personalize the connection invitation with a note about your previous conversation and mention the event where you met.

Step 5: As your new network accepts your LinkedIn connection requests, be sure to send them each a quick email to thank them for joining your network.

As for the physical cards, use a Rolodex or simply bind with a rubber band and a note indicating the date and location where you obtained the cards.

This is the first in a series on Business Card Marketing. 

Marketing Tip #10 | How to Identify a Qualified Lead

How to Identify a Qualified Lead

  In Marketing Tip #9 we discussed the difference between prospects and leads.

Marketing and networking, whether it be traditional or online via your website and social media, attracts prospects. When someone first visits your website, calls, emails, or approaches you online or at a networking event, he is a prospect but not necessarily a qualified lead.

You will be more efficient and save time and money if you learn to group those prospects who can’t/won’t end up being customers and may only want free information and advice into the Prospect category. Those who met your custom lead criteria become your Qualified Leads and are actually worth pursuing and spending time and effort trying to convert.

How can you identify a Qualified Lead?

Develop a quick 4-question survey to evaluate prospects. Click here for a template to get you started. 

If you implement a quick analysis survey before accepting coffee or lunch meetings or entering into lengthy phone calls or email exchanges, you may find that, while you are spending less time on fewer leads, you are able to close more business.  And won’t that be wonderful?

This is the second in a series on prospects vs. leads. Click here to read Are You Wasting Your Time on Prospects?

Who is Generation C? And why you need to care

Who is Generation C?

Research powerhouse Nielsen released a new study on Feb. 23, 2012 identifying power users of mobile devices. As many have guessed, this group are Americans aged 18-34. Neilsen has dubbed this new group, Generation C.

While 18-34 year olds make up just 23% of the U.S. population, they own 33% of the tablets and account for 39% of the smartphone usage.

According to Neilsen, Generation C takes their personal connections to new levels with devices and experiences unmatched by any other age group. Small business owners who wish to reach members of Generation C need to understand how this group interactions with technology, with businesses, and with each other.

Here are several other interesting graphs and charts from recent Neilsen studies:

Why you need to care

Understanding and addressing the communication habits of customers and potential customers as well as potential influencers such as the newly-dubbed Generation C will provide organizations with an important advantage in today’s competitive marketplace. Knowing and addressing “how” customers want to interact with your organization will provide valuable insight resulting in increased engagement ultimately leading to business growth and profitability.

Promotion Idea: 31+ Unique March Holidays

You’ve mailed out discounts, offered repeat customers free services or products, and now you feel stuck. How do you reach new people and keep your current customers coming back? Relax. We have something you can try. Holidays.

You may be saying to yourself, “What? That doesn’t make sense!” But it does. Use traditional holidays or create new holidays to offer your customers coupons and discounts. Both can give customers a good ol’ laugh and you a reason to connect. The result? Customer satisfaction and business growth. Win. Win.

Here are some examples:

  • March 2 is National Dress in Blue Day. Give customers the ability to wear blue, snap a picture, and submit it for 5% off their next order.
  • The blues got you down? Try March 14 instead. Pi Day opens up the communication lines with your customers as you can share and swap pie recipes or offer “berry good deals.”
  • Don’t have a sweet tooth? Don’t fret! March 26 is Make Up Your Own Holiday Day. Use this to your advantage to create a holiday geared towards your industry or ask your customers what holiday they would create.

Here are some existing holidays to use as idea starters:

Month-long celebrations

Red Cross Month

Employee Spirit Month

International Ideas Month

National Frozen Food Month

Holiday Weeks

National Write a Letter of Appreciation Week (March 1-7)

Universal Women’s Week (March 8-14)

National Spring Fever Week (March 18-24)

Daily Holidays

1 – National Pig Day

2 – National Dress In Blue Day

3 – What if Cats and Dogs Had Opposable Thumbs? Day

4 – Cadbury Chocolates Birthday (debut 1824)

5 – Namesake Day

6 – Michalangelo’s Birthday (1475)

7 – National Be Heard Day

8 – Organize Your Home Office Day

9 – Panic Day

10 – First Telephone Message (Sent 1876)

11 – Daylight Savings

12 – Napping Day

13 – K-9 Veterans Day

14 – Pi Day

15 – Absolutely Incredible Kid Day

16 – Freedom of Information Day

17 – St. Patrick’s Day

18 – Awkward Moments Day

19 – Let’s Laugh Day

20 – First Day of Spring

21 – National Common Courtesy Day

22 – As Young As You Feel Day

23 – World Turtle Day

24 – National Chocolate Covered Raisin Day

25 – Pecan Day

26 – Make Up Your Own Holiday Day

27 – Quirky Country Music Song Title Day

28 – Memorial Day

29 – National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day

30 – I am in Control Day

31 – Earth Hour – 8:30 PM

The possibilities created by using holidays as a marketing theme are endless. Turn each day into your own, and keep your customers coming back for more. Come back next month for some April holidays that will have you hopping to new heights!

Marketing Tip #9 | Are You Wasting Time on Prospects?

Are you wasting your time on prospects?

There is a fine line between wasting time with a prospect and spending quality time pursuing a lead. Understanding the difference will save you time and money.

Think back to math class where you learned that all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares.  In much the same way, all leads are prospects, but not all prospects are leads.

A lead is only a lead if it is qualified. To be qualified, a lead must be the right kind of client or customer for your business. In addition to having a need for your product or service, a qualified lead fits your business model and is able — from both an authority and budget perspective — to purchase your offering.

How many coffee meetings or phone conversations have you accepted hoping they would turn into business when, instead, they turned out to be a waste of your time?

This is the first in a series on prospects vs. leads. Learn how to identify qualified leads in Marketing Tip #10 in early March. Additional free Marketing Tips are available by clicking here.

Marketing Tip #8 | What does your email address say about you?

Whether you realize it or not, you have an online identity – and an online reputation.

Even if you have not registered on many of the social media sites, the email address you use already says a lot about you. Does your email address reflect who you are? Is your name part of your email address? Should it be? It depends on you and the image you want to portray.

If you plan to use email and social media for personal reasons, it’s okay to use your pet’s name or hobby as part of your online identity. The more professional the reasons for your foray into social media, the more professional your email address and online identity should be.

If you are trying to find a job or using social media for business purposes, an email address that includes your name like congers up a much more professional image than

If you have a work email address, you’ll need to decide if you want to use it for your social media endeavors. A word of caution: since you will not be employed at your current job forever, before you leave the company, you will need to change your email address on sites you want to access afterward. This could be a hassle.

Click here to learn more in our blog posting “Who Do you want to be online?”

Marketing Tip #7 | Creating a Winning Brand

Creating a Winning Brand

The success of a small business relies, in part, on the company’s ability to create a winning brand. In order to be successful, you must create a memorable reputation — and part of that reputation lies in your ability to successfully brand your company, products and services.

The idea of branding is not new. Branding dates back to 2000 B.C. when inscriptions on the walls of ancient Egyptian tombs indicate that cattle were branded. What has changed is how you create a winning brand in today’s online-intense marketplace.

Successful companies create strong brands around colors, images, logos, shapes, slogans and taglines.

Coca-Cola has been called the world’s most iconic beverage.  The company consistently and very deliberately, uses their trademark red, the distinctive Coke glass bottle figure, their script logo, and targeted slogans.  Below is one of their latest videos. When I posted this, the video was less than 2 hours old and had 306 views.  It will be interesting to see how many views it has when you read this.

Free Branding Assessment Tool

Coke’s consistent branding has resulted in a strong consumer following. You can do the same with your branding.

To learn how to brand your products, services and company as consistently as Coke, start with a quick branding assessment. Click here to download Reciprocate’s free branding assessment tool. You’ll also receive an exclusive offer to receive a free company branding of your Constant Contact emails. But hurry, the Constant Contact branding offer expires Feb. 29, 2012.

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