Business Development Associates
Main PageServicesThe BDA WayEventsAbout BDAResourcesTestimonialsBDA
spacer
spacer
spacer
spacer

Tag Archive for 'Social Media'

Facebook Modifies Ad Offerings for Enhanced (and Simpler) Advertising for Marketers

In a press conference yesterday, Facebook announced that it will be simplifying its product offering when it comes to advertisements. The first step will be taking their current ad units from 27 to half that amount and helping marketers match the the type of Facebook ad they will need to their advertising goals such as in-store sales, online engagement and more.


Other changes include:

1) Removing the “Questions” ad product for Pages, as marketers can simply use the posting function to ask a question and receive comments.

2) Removing the “Online Offer” ad product, as marketers lean towards using the “Page Post Link” ad to drive people to promotions on their respective websites.

3) Marketers will no longer have to purchase “sponsored stories” in addition to the ad itself. Facebook will automatically include social context to a “Page Post Photo” ad which will eliminate the extra step of creating sponsored stories.

4) All ads will look more consistent as well, in efforts to have a more cohesive visual look. This not only reduces the number of types of ads, but, Facebook is also hopeful this will help marketers optimize their ad campaigns for digital and mobile.

The changes will start to appear in the coming weeks with a full roll-out over the next six months, and are a response to many marketers complaining that Facebook advertising “was too complicated for the marketers to figure out”, according to Andrew Bosworth, Facebook’s Director of Engineering and Design for ads.

As Facebook continues to deal with the growing pains of being a publicly traded company and the ongoing balance of creating both happy Facebook’ers and investors, advertising will be one of several (if not many) challenges they will face.

Tips For Restorers:
For the restoration contractor engaging in social media, choosing whether or not to advertise on Facebook or any social medium, can be a challenge on several levels. It’s important to remember that in social media or any marketing and sales activity for that matter, that you ask yourself these primary questions:

“Who is it that I want to engage with through this activity?”
“What are my goals out of engaging in this activity?”
“Is what I am saying relevant to target?”
“Is this the best bang for my buck?”

Social media is a moving target, but, by answering the above questions (and whatever other questions necessary), and disciplining yourself to be consistent in your efforts, you are setting the path towards success (and more sales!).

If you’re a company in the restoration and cleaning industry, and looking to find a predictable way to grow your business using a proven sales and marketing process that includes social media and a host of other activities that fit your marketing mix, Business Development Associates may be a good fit for you. Contact us at info@theBDAway.com or call us at 773-777-9956.

What Happens When the Predictable Becomes Unpredictable?

As we all know, last Sunday was the one of the most anticipated days of the year, the 47th Superbowl. And, in a blog from last week, we discussed the idea of unpredictability and that while in the 47 years of the Superbowl game occuring, you never know when something can go awry, or, when the lights may go out (pun intended here). Many have referenced Superbowl 47 as the “Blackout Bowl.” For advertisers, they’ll remember the Blackout Bowl as the event that almost turned the lights out on one of, if not their biggest, marketing expenditure of the year. (On a side note, kudos to the companies that took advantage of the opportunity and leveraged social media to create engagement during the blackout!)

But lights out at the Superbowl for 34 minutes? Most folks would think that would never happen. David Letterman, the famous late night talk show host, joked that his 9 year old son said the lights must have gone out because of Beyonce’s hair dryer. Others ventured conspiracy theories that the blackout was an opportunity for the 49′rs to make a comeback.

In our blog last week, we discussed how even something like the Superbowl, that happens like clockwork every year, is not 100% predictable. And there are companies that will spend a large portion of their marketing dollars on a significant event like this in hopes that it will be the turning point in their sales.

Ironically, something unpredictable did happen during the Superbowl that really drove the point of the blog home. So, what do you do when the predictable sources of business you count on become unpredictable? And to that, the “predictable” sources, when you really look at them, are out of your control. For the restorer, this can equate to:

-The weather (the old saying “you can always count on the weather” doesn’t always ring true in our industry)
-Program work that can be there one day and vanishes the next
-Fire chasing, which current legislation moving through the system may make this type of work no longer feasible

This is just to name a few of the “predictable” sources of business that we see restorers rely on. But more often than not, what they really want is to predictably grow their business. They just don’t know how. In that case, it’s important to seek out solutions will grow you to the next level. Plus, you will need to have the proper systems, procedures, people and processes in place to do so as well. If you’re looking to know more about the different stages of business growth, click here for more information.

You can also visit www.theBDAway.com for more information as well.

Wall Street, Restorers and How Social Media Impacts Buying Decisions

A recent survey by the Brunswick Group stated that 57% of the roughly 500 investors and sell-side analysts surveyed said they were most influenced in their investment decisions by the information they obtain directly from the company. 85% said that information directly from the company was amongst their top three most influential sources in their final buying decision.

Now, social media in regards to influencing their decisions is not totally off the table. About 14% of those surveyed said that digital and social media ranked among their top three influencers in decision making. That’s pretty powerful, but, it still points to the fact that social media has a long way to go in being the end all be all of decision making. But, it’s certainly something that should not be ignored.

The same is true with those deciding to do business with a restorer. We find that when talking to current and prospective clients, the question of social media will come up as well as other tactics and whether they are the right marketing method.

In the restoration industry, there are typically various targets that a restorer will go after: consumers, insurance professionals, plumbers and a slew of other folks that can refer business. And with anyone you are marketing to, especially those that are unfamiliar with your company in the first place, you’ll need a certain number of exposures in order for your message to break through the incredible amount of messages being received everyday by your prospect.

What was the traditional rule of “7” in marketing exposures varies now due to the rise of social media in our everyday professional and personal lives, and of course, the increased amount of messages the average prospects comes across daily. So, there’s no magic answer. Some still say 7, but others will also say 10 or even more.

The good news here is that social media can be one of the many ways you reach out to your customers in an attempt to gain brand awareness recognition. But, it’s important to take note of the Brunswick survey, as the principle of having key ways to provide your company’s message through direct means is crucial. This includes having a dynamic sales force in place to deliver your message correctly.

And, if you translate your message so effectively, consistently and frequently you can then reach what some might call the “holy grail” in marketing: immediate, unaided brand recall. For a restorer, that means that when your customer needs restoration services, they immediately think of your company and because you have done such a phenomenal job selling and marketing to them, you “own” that position in their mind of the “go-to” restorer.

So, does social media and putting all your eggs in that basket as a communications platform equal the end-all be all of reaching the holy grail? For now, no, but it’s definitely another platform that is rising in terms of influencing buying decisions, whether it’s a an IT firm trying to influence a Wall Street investor or an insurance agent or adjuster deciding whether a restorer’s services are right for them.

Do You Ignore Your Social Media Reputation?

In a recent study from the Zeno Group, research shows that many corporate executives are not making efforts to consider their social media reputation when making business decisions or including management of their online reputation in their marketing mix. Surprisingly, 10% even turn a blind eye when faced with addressing a damaging article or social media post, letting it linger without proper follow-up and efforts to remedy the situation or unhappy customer.

Whether you love it or hate it, social media is an ever-growing medium for both B2B and B2C folks to use for many purposes in today’s business world. And when it comes to products and services, social media is a place where you as a company can be praised or punished. And, while praise is something every business loves, especially in a forum that exposes that praise to an extremely vast audience, that same forum can also be extremely damaging to a company’s reputation if negative comments and reviews are made (and not dealt with!).

This recent info graphic shows that when it comes to products/services, 51% of people surveyed will hop onto their favorite social media outlet to give negative feedback and on the other end of the spectrum, 54% will give positive feedback. And who’s reading these comments? 66% of people that were surveyed use social media to read the feedback, good and bad. And why not? It’s much easier to hop online and with a few clicks or touches, find reviews from people who have experienced your product and services versus the old days of more traditional word-of-mouth reviews like asking your neighbor or friends who they used to clean up their flooded basement.

For any business, including restoration contractors, considering your social media reputation is an important part of your online and overall marketing and sales strategy. Being able to have a great presence online isn’t everything when it comes to increasing the bottom line, but it certainly plays into the “social proof” factor of people wanting to do business with you. Thus, being able to engage the online community, whether good or bad, can play a critical role in several areas. Positive or negative feedback, reviews and comments about your company can help you keep doing the right things and improve those that are not going so smooth. Plus, being able to monitor crisis situations online and respond accordingly can end up showing current or future clients that even though your company might have dropped the ball, that you know how to pick it back up and provide outstanding customer service even when the going gets tough.

Have you gotten a bad review online before? What have you done to proactively turn the boat on that negative moment? Or, if you’re fortunate to receive great online reviews, does your company have an engagement plan for those loyal cheerleaders of your product/services? We’d love to hear your comments!

Mobile and Tablet Usage Rising-Is It Right For Your Mix?

There is no question that smartphones and tablets have not only revolutionized how we engage with each other both personally and in business, but both technologies continue to provide greater marketing opportunities for both B2B and B2C purposes. And everywhere you look, it seems that everyone has one, and for those that are has a lower adaptability rate, (for example, the Silent Generation), they too are gradually increasing in their consumption of the latest technology.

And for marketers, increased mobile and tablet usage means the ability to leverage various tactics and strategies in order to communicate and provide interactive opportunities with their company, from QR codes, push messaging, Mobile Apps, mobile and tablet friendly Websites, sharing abilities, interactive TV, mobile banner ad opportunities, location-based marketing and much more.

For the consumer, the immediate gratification of finding information or products they want is also a big plus, as they can quickly perform a Google Search or buy the item they just saw on TV or in a magazine in a matter of minutes. For the company that consumer is buying from, the ability to maximize on the consumer’s impulse and need for immediate information or for the product itself can be result in shorter buy cycles and quicker profit. And to top all this, the rising market penetration rates of both mobile devices and tablets have marketers looking at a way to start shifting part of their marketing mix over to this new communications platform.

To give you an idea of how entrenched mobile and tablet technology is here in the U.S., below is a quick snapshot of US smartphone users and penetration into the population from 2010 and projected into 2016. In 2010, smartphones were used by 20.2% of the population, where in 2013 it will have jumped to 48.9%. In 2016, it’s projected that nearly 60% will have a smartphone.

- 2010: 62.2 million (26.9% of mobile phone users / 20.2% of population)
- 2011: 93.1 million (39.2% / 29.7%)
- 2012: 115.8 million (47.7% / 36.6%)
- 2013: 137.5 million (55.5% / 43.1%)
- 2014: 157.7 million (62.5% / 48.9%)
- 2015: 176.3 million (68.8% / 54.2%)
- 2016:192.4 million (74.1% / 58.5%)

The following numbers reflect those of tablet users. By 2014, it’s predicted that over a quarter of the U.S. population will be using tablets. As tablet adoption increases, older devices will get replaced and eventually, will become more like smartphones, which typically have a single user and less sharing.

U.S. tablet users and penetration, 2010-2014:
- 2010: 13.0 million (4.2% of total population / 5.8% of internet users)
- 2011: 33.7 million (10.8% / 14.5%)
- 2012: 54.8 million (17.3% / 22.9%)
- 2013: 75.6 million (23.7% / 30.9%)
- 2014: 89.5 million (27.7% / 35.6%)

Another advantage of mobile and tablet marketing in a company’s mix is not only the benefits we spoke of above, but the ability to be truly integrated and interactive with other elements of your mix. Marketers can cross-pollinate what can be considered a traditional form of marketing with the newer forms like mobile marketing. By doing so, you can give a “facelift” to what some people might be considered “dead” forms of advertising, like print advertising.

For example, in Quarter 2/2012, the use of mobile action codes In the U.S. top print magazines rose 61% compared to the previous quarter. In comparison to last year, the print-to-mobile marketing strategy rose from 5% overall to 10% and continues to rise. Action codes in magazines right now are actually outpacing action codes in direct mail. Direct mail is typically receiving about 4.4% overall in a response rate while catalogs garner a 4.3% response rate; a direct mail letter receives an approximate 3.4%). But, with the implementation of mobile code actions, that response rate on direct mail rose from 4.5% to 5.9%.

It’s important to note something here…one of the best rules in marketing is this: don’t implement a marketing activity into your mix just because it’s the latest buzz trend. Rather, does a proper analysis of your target market, how they engage with your applicable medium and then see how the rubber will hit the road, if it does at all. The numbers we provided here are some high-level stats. There’s lots of ways to drill down and seek out further information about your target market on a much deeper level, and you should make every effort to do so. But, with some powerful data and the obvious impact both mobile and tablet technology has had and will continue to make on our society, it’s certainly something that can’t be ignored and should be considered!

In the end, what you choose in your marketing mix and what you decide to say and how you say it are all integral, critical parts in acting strategically with your message. Finding the ways to communicate your message is half the battle — figuring out what to say is the other side of it!

What’s your experience with mobile and tablet marketing? Restoration Contractors are you currently utilizing any mobile or tablet strategies? We’d love to hear your thoughts and/or experience!!

For more information about Business Development Associates, Inc., visit www.theBDAway.com.

LinkedIn Introduces “Endorsements”

For some time, LinkedIn has provided the opportunity for people to give praise and compliments to other individuals or companies by allowing folks to post recommendations to the individual or company profile page.

LinkedIn recently announced a new feature–”Endorsements.” This feature allows a person to comment directly on a particular skill or expertise listed on their individual profile. You can also recommend that person to list a skill that they might have not listed, but that you think they should!

And, whenever you are endorsed on your profile, LI will notify you via email. When word-of-mouth referrals are so important in today’s business, including that of a restoration contractor, here’s another great way to use your LinkedIn connections to be a cheerleader for you!

You can learn more about the new LinkedIn Endorsements feature here!

Hiring The Right Consultant For You

If you’ve decided to hire a consultant — Congratulations! You’ve taken the first step in making the strategic and necessary changes to grow your business to the next level, or help you with some current business challenges.

But with many consultants to choose from, how do you choose the right consultant for you? Here’s a few tips on how to seek out and secure the right consultant that’s a perfect fit for you:

Assess What You Really Need
First, you need to understand the specific skillset you are looking for that aligns with the goals you want to achieve. Make sure your consultant or consulting agency offers solutions that will resolve your business challenges and at the same time, gauge their ability to understand the business and the issues. Looking at their website, social media platforms and any published works (ie: articles) are a good start to seeing how they speak about and understand your business and industry.

Also, are you looking for an advisor, implementer or both? If there is hands-on work that will be produced out of hiring the consultant, you will want to find a consultant that is also an implementation company to help make the process more fluid and your project output that much more powerful for maximum results and ROI.

Always Check Testimonials, Referrals and Current Clients

There’s several ways to obtain the opinions of those who have used the services of the consultant you are seeking out. Social media and the internet is one of the easiest methods; start by checking the consultant’s company page on LinkedIn, or head straight to their website. If the consultant has truly moved their business in the right direction, meaning they are delivering powerful results with the strategies they are implementing, they will give you a list of the consultant’s current clients who can share their experiences with you.

Which Of Their Current Clients Are Similar to Your Situation?

Restoration contracting companies come in all shapes and sizes. And, while there are some general similarities amongst them, like any business, each is unique in nature. The consultant you choose should have strategies that are tailored to your unique business situation, challenges and goals.

Be Crystal Clear About Your Objectives, and “No” is OK!

In order to make sure the consultant’s solution is a right fit, make sure that you are upfront and crystal clear about your objectives and your business situation. The right consultant for you will want to assess your situation and determine if their services are the right fit for you. Many times, a consultant will say just about “Yes, we’ve got your answers!” to anyone in order to secure the business. A great consultant does not have the fear of saying “no” or turning down the business, because they have a tailored, unique solution for a specific type of customer and want to make sure that their solution is right for your situation and challenges.

Are You Looking For a Long Term or Short Term Fix?

With the bevy of consultants to choose from, also comes the choice of the type of solution you are seeking. And while many solutions out there do well at implementing some short-term changes, it’s really just putting a band-aid on the wound, versus truly healing it. If you’re serious about implementing long-term changes that get to the core of your challenges, make sure the consultant you choose and the solution that comes with that is one that is long lasting, versus the “silver bullet” approach that is commonly sold, but rarely cures the issues in the long-term.

Another thing to consider when choosing a consultant is the exclusivity factor. Many “silver bullet”/short-term solutions are being sold to hundreds, possibly thousands of others, including your direct competitors. That can bring the value of the solution, plus the ROI on your investment in the solution, down significantly if everyone else is using the same strategy. Be sure to ask your consultant of how many people in your area are using the same solution they are trying to sell you.

How’s The Rapport?

A good consultant will want to talk with you several times to ensure that their services are a good fit for the goals you want to achieve and the challenges you are facing. If they try to sell you on the first time talking, a flag should go up that they are likely selling a blanket solution that is made for the masses versus selling a solution that was designed for a particular problem set. And that could very well be what we mentioned before – a Band-Aid that provides a short-term fix versus healing the deeper, underlying issues.

Also, while you are talking to them, make sure if you see them as a valuable partner and a critical part of getting where you want to go. Your indicators should be saying “yes, this is my consultant!” If you don’t respect them or see them as a subordinate or just any other vendor, then it’s probably not a good fit.

At BDA we talk with many restoration contractors about their business challenges. And, while we are not a perfect fit for everyone, the restoration contractors that usually come to us find the following issues:

• What grew their company from Point A to Point B is not working to take them from Point B to Point C.

• They have stopped growing or are actively shrinking,

• Or, they are growing but want to grow faster,

• They have full time salespeople but they don’t know if their activities are actually growing the business,

• Ultimately, our clients want to predictably control their company’s growth and not be at the mercy of program work, the weather or good fortune.

If you are facing any of the above issues, give us a call at 773-294-7400 or email us at info@theBDAway.com. We will be happy to talk with you to see if BDA is the right fit for your company!

What Are They Saying About Your Company?

Just because you’re not active with social media doesn’t mean others aren’t talking about you and your cleaning and restoration business.

Customers flock to Facebook and Twitter to communicate both positive and negative consumer experiences. Social review sites like Yelp are exclusively devoted to letting customers talk to each other about businesses and service providers.

This is how the world communicates now, for better or for worse. You never know who may be talking about your business. But you need to know when they are. Don’t let everything you’ve worked so hard for be tarnished because you didn’t have the knowledge and tools to protect your reputation.

Remember LeVar Burton? He’s an actor that was in several high-profile projects, including Roots and Reading Rainbow. He’s most well known for playing the role of Geordi La Forge on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Burton has a lot of followers on Twitter. A lot of followers that one day saw this:

When Burton tweeted this, he had more than 1,400,000 followers. This message was then retweeted (forwarded, or rebroadcast) by more than 20 other Twitter users to their followers, whether or not they followed Burton themselves. Those retweets included the link in Burton’s original message, which takes you here:

Did 1,400,000 people actually see this? Of course not, but you can bet a lot of them did. Those looking for a rug dealers or carpet cleaner in that market surely saw it because it’s easily found on the first page of Google search results.

And how did the proprietor of the rug cleaner company respond? Either he failed to reach out to Burton to try to solve the problem or he flat out failed to notice. More than a year later, Burton’s negative review is still there and the company’s Yelp page still links to it.

What can you do to avoid this happening to your company? First, set up a Google Alert for your company’s name so you can monitor when people mention your business online. Turn the positives into testimonials to attract new business and address any negative issues swiftly to demonstrate that your company doesn’t tolerate poor customer service.

When you do reach out to dissatisfied customers, don’t be defensive and don’t be aggressive. Don’t focus on the merits of the issue. Focus on the problem and make it clear you want to solve it. Listen and ask questions until you find the pain, and then fix it.

There are plenty of Internet users who just enjoy complaining, but you’ll find that most people with a legitimate customer service issue just want their problem solved. They will be happy to remove or correct a negative review as long as you just take care of them.

The 3 Most Forgotten Lines in a LinkedIn Profile

There’s a lot you can do with a LinkedIn profile, but it’s often the simplest things that are ignored. Case in point, the “Websites” item.

Most people add their URL in the box, as instructed, but use the default name for the link. “Company Website” doesn’t really do it, though, when it’s just as easy to put in your company’s name. Better yet, you can use SEO keywords, like “Water Restoration Experts.”

“Water Damage Experts” too limited for your? Well, that’s where the first of the three forgotten lines come in. You can have up to three links in the Websites section, and there’s no rule that they can’t go to the same place. So you can add “Sewage Cleanup Experts” or “Mold Remediation.”

There’s a 22-character limit, but otherwise, you’re free to use anything.

For both SEO and people clicking through, it’s better to have each link go to a different page: “water” to your water restoration page, “mold” to your mold remediation page, etc.

The third forgotten link is the link to your public profile. The link that LinkedIn assigns is hard to remember, for you and for people you may want to give it to. Fortunately, LinkedIn lets you customize that, too. You have up to 30 characters and, so long as it’s not already in use, you can use your company name or any other memorable, relevant word.

Three Simple Rules to Keep Twitter from Draining Your Life Force

Post first.

There’s only so much time available, and the first requirement is to feed the feed. So don’t get bogged down in reading tweets that have come in. Post before you read. Better yet…

Read later.

The reason to read tweets is to see if there’s anything to reply to, re-tweet or otherwise deal with. That means making decisions, and that’s not something you can do quickly if you want to do it properly. So set aside a half-hour a day, separate from any other activity, to read and respond to tweets.

Don’t reply unless you have something to say.

Yes, there are times when a pat on the back – or even an outright sucking up – is indicated. But very seldom is “I agree!” or “Great tweet!” a message worth the time it takes. It’s time you could be spending on meaningful tweets. Or getting re-acquainted with your family.



spacer
spacer
www.gobda.com
spacer
©Copyright 2011 Business Development Associates, Inc.