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Most People Rely on Search Engines to Find Local Businesses

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PEW Internet recently conducted a survey in which 1087 adults (age 18 and older) were interviewed in both English and Spanish about their habits when searching for local businesses and restaurants. They were asked about both their online and offline searches and which they were more likely to do.

Some 60% of adults say they get news and information about local businesses other than restaurants and bars.
When they do:

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Filed under Local, Marketing
Jan 4, 2012

WP Touch vs WP Mobile Detector

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Is Your Blog Ready For Mobile Search Traffic?

To kick off the New Year, I’m doing a mini interruption on the “How To Bring Your Team Online Without The
Overwhelm” series to address one of the most powerful trends in 2011.

Mobile, Mobile and Mobile!

While talk of the mobile explosion is nothing new, you
might not have known that there is such a thing as mobile search results. And
mobile search results are different from standard desktop results as they are
generated by Googlebot-Mobile. Yep he or she, is a special bot dedicated to mobile!

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Filed under Marketing, Mobile
Jan 4, 2012

Minorities More Active on Mobile Web

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Minorities More Active on Mobile Web

Hispanic mobile users are nearly 17 percentage points more likely to use mobile web than whites

While whites make up the lion’s share of US mobile phone and mobile internet users, a new eMarketer forecast estimates Hispanic, Asian and black mobile users in the US access the mobile internet more often than their white counterparts, and that they will continue to outpace whites in mobile internet adoption through 2015.

eMarketer estimates that about two-thirds of US mobile users will be white at the end of this year, decreasing to 64.1% to 2015 as black, Asian and Hispanic consumers inch upward in mobile adoption.

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Filed under Marketing, Mobile
Jan 4, 2012

Moms Prefer Digital Shopping Over In-Store

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Digital usage and ecommerce increase when women
become moms.

Describe almost any mother of small children and one word comes to mind:

Two recent studies verify this truism by showing that women spend less time with media outlets such as TV and magazines—but more time online—after becoming a mom. An Eric Mower and Associates survey, for example, found…

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Filed under eCommerce, Mobile
Jan 4, 2012

Tablets and Smartphones Used for Shopping InStore

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checking off items on their shopping lists more than ever before. Thanks in part to the growth of tablet device ownership among US households, consumers are using mobile devices for product research, online shopping and to help make decisions while in brick-and-mortar stores. According to a Google holiday shopping study conducted by Ipsos OTX, 77% of tablet owners plan to use them this holiday season for shopping.

The Google study indicates that tablet owners…

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Filed under eCommerce, Mobile
Jan 4, 2012

Why You Can Never Stop Perfecting Your Business

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The most successful owners, like the best athletes, know there’s no reaching the top. There’s only working harder and learning faster than the next guy.


“Practice makes perfect” is not true.  You have to add one word: “Perfect practice makes perfect.”

I wish that I had coined that phrase, but I didn’t.  Legendary pro football coach Vince Lombardi did.  I also like the quote attributed to the virtuoso violinist Jascha Heifetz: “If I don’t practice one day, I know it. Two days, the critics know it. Three days, the public knows it.”

There are no walk-ons at the Super Bowl or Carnegie Hall, or, for that matter, when it comes to the survival of your company.  Athletics and performing arts aren’t perfect metaphors for business, but they’re not bad. In all three, talent will only take you so far. From that point on, it’s a question of determination and learned skill.

I’ve had numerous coaches help me develop whatever natural talent I have, from public speaking to running marathons to dancing and many others.  I’m not embarrassed to ask  for coaching when it comes to business decisions, either. After learning from the experts and practicing until it became second nature, I felt like I was “in the zone” more often than not. The “zone” is that magical place where performance seems inspired and effortless.

You, your business and your employees can also get in the zone–that place where you are making the right calls as leaders, sales people, quality control, marketing, the works.   Concentrate on doing the things that give you the best chance.  

  • Commit to excellence.  You must want to be the best.  Good enough doesn’t hack it.   People who want to get into the zone crave coaching and embrace practice.  They don’t whine about tough competition. They look for it.
  • Work hard.  You must be willing to put in the effort and make the necessary sacrifices.  The greatest athletes are the hardest workers.
  • Build true confidence.  True confidence is not the same as swagger. It’s a combination of mental and physical skills learned from practicing the right concepts.  Confidence enables you to perform to the best of your abilities because you know what works and what doesn’t.
  • Concentration.  If you have total concentration, you will have total control of yourself.  Great athletes maintain their poise and concentration whether they are on the verge of victory or when they’re staring defeat in the face. The same is true in business. It’s always just about the best execution, no matter what.
  •  Be physically at your peak.  Fatigue makes fools of us all.  It robs you of your skills and your judgment, and it blinds you to creative solutions.  It’s the best-conditioned athlete, not the most talented, who generally wins when the going gets tough.
  • Thrive on pressure.  To be a champion, you have to learn to handle stress and pressure.  But if you’ve prepared mentally and physically, you don’t have to worry.

Whatever it is you do, you have keep practicing the skills and concepts that got you where you are.  The annals of business are filled with stories of companies that thought they had it made and could milk their enterprises without having to bother about improving their products or services.  It’s amazing how fast they found their markets disappearing.

Mackay’s Moral:  All the world’s a stage, and most of us need more rehearsals.

Filed under Uncategorized
Jan 4, 2012

10 Tips to Kick-start Your Sales Skills

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Learning to sell yourself, and your product or service, is one of the biggest challenges as a startup. Here’s how to master the basics.

After creating her fashion jewelry line KiraKira in 2006, Suzanne Somersall Allis knew her year of design school and dual degree in English and art history hadn’t prepared her to run her own business. What she needed was real-world sales experience. So Allis created her own sales apprenticeship, juggling three part-time retail jobs for a year.

“Working at the stores helped me understand how much money people were willing to spend,” says Allis, 28. “I started to learn the psychology of people who buy my product.”

Today, KiraKira is sold in 15 stores around the country, and last month, Allis opened her first storefront at the Dekalb Market in Brooklyn, N.Y. With the recent addition of a luxury line called Suz Somersall, her sales rose to $400,000 this year from $150,000 in 2010.

For entrepreneurs like Allis, learning the ins and outs of selling is a major, but manageable, challenge. To start boosting your sales skills, consider these 10 tips:

Find your comfort level. Getting comfortable with selling is a key first step for any entrepreneur, says Matthew Schwartz, author of Fundamentals of Sales Management for the Newly Appointed Sales Manager (AMACOM, 2006). To gain the inside knowledge and confidence you need, you could work temporarily for a similar business as Allis did, seek guidance from a mentor or coach, or enroll in a sales class.  

Related: How to Conquer Your Sales Fears

Define your target audience. Identifying a specific customer target will help you refine your selling strategy and be more efficient. Let’s say your company sells photocopying machines. Is your target audience small retailers? Corporate offices? Schools? “People fail often times because they try to be all things to all people,” Schwartz says. “You have to segment your selling efforts.”

Study customer buying habits. Once you’ve identified your audience, pay close attention to customer behavior. For example, if you’re selling a high-priced item, you’ll observe that customers often take longer to make a decision. That means you should plan to spend more time closing the deal. When Allis sold jewelry similar to her own at the boutiques where she worked, she soon noticed that her prices were too low. “I initially charged a lot less and realized that customers were starting to question the quality of the product,” she says.

Related: Free Market-Research Tools — A Sampler

Fawn over your first customers. When you start out, Schwartz says, you should do everything possible to please your first customers, even if it means not making as much money from sales as you’d like. Those first customers will help create your company’s reputation. “You are going to need testimonials,” Schwartz says. “It means so much to have those references early on.”

Take time to build relationships. One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make is failing to build relationships with customers, says Rick Segel, author of Retail Business Kit for Dummies (Wiley, 2001). “The first thing you are selling is yourself. If they don’t like you, the sale is not going to happen.” Allis makes a point of sending personalized emails to buyers rather than a standardized message. She also devotes plenty of face time to customers by hosting trunk shows and working the counter at her Brooklyn storefront.

Related: How to Make a Personal Connection with Customers

Stay on the radar. Once you’ve established rapport with customers, find ways to stay top-of-mind with them, such as through regular newsletters about your business. When Allis is running a sale or hosting events, she updates her blog, her website’s events page and her company’s Facebook page. “Facebook drives so much traffic to my site,” she says.

Don’t make assumptions. Too often, small-business owners sabotage their sales by assuming they know what customers need or are willing to pay, says Keith Rosen, author of Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions (Wiley, 2008). Instead, try to ask customers as many questions as possible to learn what’s driving their purchase and what criteria they’re using to make their decision.

Establish a daily ritual. It’s easy to neglect sales prospecting when you’re wearing all the hats in your company. To avoid that pitfall, create a sales routine. That might mean reserving an hour each day for prospecting calls or setting a weekly goal of meeting at least 10 potential clients. “A defined daily routine is non-negotiable,” says Rosen.

Related: Five Strategies for a Winning Sales Presentation

Showcase your success. Your website is often the first and only contact people will have with your company. Not only should it be clean and professional looking, but it also should help build credibility. Schwartz recommends including testimonials, along with case studies of clients you’ve worked with. “People love case studies,” he says. “They’re not buying talk, they are buying [your] actions.”

Become an industry expert. Establishing yourself as a leader in your field will strengthen your sales pitch and attract new customers, Rosen says. You can write articles, start a blog or seek media exposure, all of which can build credibility and trust. Earlier this month, for example, Allis talked about jewelry trends on Martha Stewart Living Radio. “People want to see you as someone who understands the industry,” Schwartz says.

Filed under Sales
Jan 4, 2012

Social Mobile User Engagement

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Vitrue explored how mobile users are engaging with social networks, in particular how they are connecting with brands on Facebook. Our goal for this whitepaper is to provide effective insights and engagement strategies for mobile social engagement. This information will allow marketers around the world to be prepared for the continued rise of smartphone and tablet proliferation, plus the rapid adoption of social networks. The insight and best practices provided in this study will answer some of the key mobile social questions that leading brands and marketers around the world are asking.

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Filed under Marketing, Mobile
Jan 4, 2012

The Purchase Path of Online Buyers

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Successfully reaching online shoppers during the critical holiday season is crucial to the Q4 success of
eCommerce businesses. Forrester collaborated with the eCommerce service provider GSI Commerce
to understand how retailers in fact did connect with online buyers. Actual retailer clickstream analysis
from 15 online retailers who are GSI Commerce’s clients showed that traditional forms of web marketing
(e.g., search, marketing) continue to drive online sales while experimental tactics like social continue
to be just that, peripheral tactics that have generated buzz but are rarely associated with revenue. This
retailer data also showed that some tactics like display advertising may be underrepresented as they are
earlier in the purchase funnel. While this data highlights findings from the holiday season of 2010, it is a
useful illustration of how retail eBusiness executives can accommodate those findings in their customer
acquisition and retention programs throughout the year.

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Jan 4, 2012

Minorities Seem to be Using Tablets Most

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Asian-Americans join Hispanics in early adoption of emerging devices

Asian-Americans are avid users of new devices and are among the first to buy tablets and ereaders. They join US Hispanics on the top rungs of the technology early- adoption ladder. eMarketer’s estimate of US tablet users shows that 14.4% of Asians have used tablets monthly this year, vs. 12.6% of Hispanics and just over 10% of blacks and whites. The gap will narrow as the years pass, but it will take until 2014 for whites in the US to reach the same tablets penetration level as Asian-Americans.

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Filed under Marketing, Mobile
Jan 4, 2012