Thursday, December 10, 2009
Demographic targeting is one of the key success factors in any SME marketing plan. It means that you identify a subset of your customers, create a promotion especially for them, and then let them know about it! Music is one of the things that appeals to humans on a very basic level, and music stores get an enormous range of customers. Today we are looking at several individual demographically targeted promotions ideas that music stores owners can send out via scheduled SMS message tools.
Building your database
Music stores, like most retailers, do business with customers in person and therefore do not maintain a database of contact details. This means that the first step in your SME marketing plan, before you can send out an offer, is to gather contact details. There are several ways you can do this:
Set up a store membership where those who have your details on file get automatic discounts and are eligible for monthly draws
Set up several competitions where a condition of going into the prize draw is providing permission to remarket to the customer at a later date. Note that by law people must be able to opt out of these … but if you send good offers, most won’t!
Set up a website to complement your physical store, and use the delivery contact details from that as your database.
What to Offer?
Here are some ideas for offers you can send out in your scheduled SMS messages to start building up your balance sheet:
Buy a top 40 album, get a CD single of your choice for free: Young people don’t have much money, and they listen to plenty of top 40 music! Send this out to everybody in your database who is 18 or younger
In-store CD signing with local musician: This will be popular with the people that make up the musician's demographic. The easiest way to figure that out is to ask them! You'll get an enormous cross-section of people that come to signings; it all depends on the artist.
Buy any album, get 70% off kids' music: Kids usually can’t buy their own music -- you'll have to make parenting status part of your initial survey to enter the competition or get a store membership.
10% off gift cards: More time-targeted than demographically targeted, this type of promotion always goes well if you send out your scheduled SMS messages around Christmas, Mother's Day and Father's Day.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
No-shows really cut into your business bottom line -- there's nothing that hurts small business more. In a doctor's office, there are usually plenty of patients available to fill the gaps -- if only you knew the gap was coming! Today we are looking at how to prevent no-shows in your doctor's surgery, tactfully and inexpensively.
The gold standard: Scheduling SMS reminders
A call may help cement the appointment better in people's minds -- yet they can be seen as intrusive, take time and labor hours and cost money to execute. A scheduled SMS message is:
Takes less time to check
Can be automated
Doesn’t cost phone call rates (which can be high if a large percentage of patients use cells as their primary phones)
However, this is but one part of a successful anti-no-show plan!
Let patients know that you depend on them to let you know when they can’t make an appointment. Set up a dedicated SMS line for this purpose -- try to link the mobile number to your phone number to make it easy for patients to remember. This way people don’t have to wait on hold to tell you that they can’t make it. You may be able to link this to your scheduled SMS messages for reminders.
Consider setting a cancellation fee
Cancellation fees are becoming more popular among doctor's offices. While it is often not practical to take an appointment deposit (due to the high number of appointments in a day), cancellation fees have proven to discourage people from not showing up. You will need to consider various factors, however:
There can be a collections cost associated if people choose not to pay
Cancellation fees can create patient ill-will
If your practice is one where patients frequently encounter long waits, cancellation fees can be seen as unfair; ie, the doctor or practice must be compensated for their lost time, but the patients waiting for their appointments do not.
One unique idea is to add a cancellation surcharge to the patient's next appointment. This removes the cost of collections, and minimizes ill-will. Consider waiving the fee for patients that actually call and let you know in advance, even on the same day/ Also, make sure your cancellation policy is clearly published and communicated to all patients if you plan to charge for missed appointments.
Organization: Job stockpiling
If the percentage of no-shows at your practice is relatively low, it can help to simply keep a stockpile of jobs that can be performed at any time, with little notice. Administrative tasks, cleaning unused areas etc can help fill up staff time and while it isn’t quite as good as making money, at least it is not wasted.
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Thursday, December 10, 2009
You've worked hard to get your event to this stage, and now you feel like a kid before their birthday party … will anybody show up? Most of the time, people that have booked a spot for an event turn up. Yet there is always a percentage of no-shows, and every empty seat is lost cash. Today we are looking at how event organizers can help prevent no-shows, with a minimum of fuss and cost.
When doctors, dentists and real estate agents choose to schedule SMS messages to remind their clients about appointments, they are usually sent several hours beforehand. If someone has truly forgotten about an event, though, they usually require more notice than this to organize their attendance. Schedule SMS messages both three and seven days in advance, as well as on the event day.
Allow replies to your scheduled SMS messages
In many SMS software programs, it is incredibly simple to allow replies. This is an easy way to discover if someone isn’t planning to come -- let them reply to the message and be taken off the list. If you’re going to use this tactic, make sure you let your customers know! Many people aren’t used to being able to reply to scheduled SMS messages. Simply advise them in the message body of how to reply with a cancellation.
Consider taking small deposits
If you are setting up a free event that requires registration, you'll inevitably find more no-shows on the day than for paid events … even more than paid events where no deposit is taken. This is because people see the seat or booking as less valuable to you, so aren’t as concerned about letting you know it won’t be fulfilled.
To solve this dilemma, charge a nominal fee upon booking. If you want, you can use the fees towards food and drinks for the event, or donate it to a charity of your choice. Make sure you let people know what you are doing with the fee.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
In general, you'll find that most people advise you NOT to use text speak in your marketing messages. "You'll alienate the older generation," they warn you. "People won’t understand you, your money will be wasted!" While this is true in some cases, it certainly isn't unequivocally true. If you’re speaking to a younger audience, full words will look very stilted to them on a screen … and ironically, it is the younger audience that are more likely to engage with SME marketing promotions via text. So today we are looking at some common text abbreviations, and how far to go with your text speak in scheduled SMS messages.
Common abbreviations in SMS speak
Some abbreviations are more common than others in text speak. You'll find that young adults, teens and middle-aged people alike are comfortable with using terms like:
lol Lots of laughs/Laughing out loud
omg Oh my God
brb Be right back
Especially since most text messages are limited to 160 characters, some of these common abbreviations can be useful for getting plenty of detail into your SMS marketing, without adding a second message. While one set of beeps might be interesting, a second set unfailingly annoys!
Emoticons are common among the younger generation -- if you are sending scheduled SMS messages to teens or tweens, it is entirely appropriate. You might use pictograms like
Less common abbreviations
Most of these are conversational and not used in text message scheduling for marketing. Some of these abbreviations include:
atm at the moment
btw by the way
g2g got to go
hru how are you
imo in my opinion
jtlyk just to let you know
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