Archive for the 'social media marketing' Category

Leveraging Social Networking Sites to Generate Affiliate Network Business

Posted on July 12, 2010

“Social networks are like gasoline for your personal business networking machine. If you aren’t plugged in, you will be out-done by better-connected, hyper-networked colleagues and competitors.”

Many forces are reshaping the business landscape. Evolving business models, emerging markets, changing customer expectations, and new regulations (think green) are making it imperative that companies become more dynamic so that they can remain competitive in a fast-moving and uncertain global marketplace. We are caught in a wave of unprecedented change; technological, environmental, and economic trends are having tremendous impact in our local markets. These shifts are impacting the way we do business and, if you are not tuned in and keeping pace, the odds are, you are going to get left behind.

Rapidly identifying and capitalizing on new opportunities, mitigating risks, and constantly honing a competitive edge are hallmarks of a dynamic organization. Operating across global distances with near-instant response to your customers’ needs is increasingly vital to business.

In other words, the development of a global network can bring a great deal of additional revenue – both farm-in and farm-out – but only if it is well-organized and reliable. Translation: strong relationships throughout the “supply-chain” are critical in developing new streams of revenue. Unless you know who can provide a service level that is exceptional enough to handle your most important customers, and vice versa, an affiliate network makes absolutely no sense – business or otherwise. And, in a global economy, identifying who the “players” are in a market and establishing mutually beneficial relationships is often “easier said than done.” So, how can you get “upfront and personal” to recruit both affiliates and clients whether they are in Tokyo, Topeka or Tobruk?

The internet, of course. More specifically . . . welcome to the world of social networking.

Don’t let the word “social” confuse you. “Social” networking is very good for business, and the research is showing just how good.

William Baker, a marketing professor at San Diego University (and former VP of Marketing at Ericson Marketing Communications) has conducted research on Social Networking in business. Surveying 1,600 executives, his research found that companies – especially smaller companies – that rely heavily on external social networks are more innovative, speed up their ability to respond quickly to events in the marketplace and capitalize on their competitive advantages.

Knowing and implementing the best strategy across traditional marketing channels and social media channels can sometimes make or break your business’s marketing success. This can translate to money either gained or lost in your business. Real social media engagement takes time and a great deal of strategy, something many limo company owners don’t have a lot of.

Finding the right partner to outsource your social media marketing to is sometimes challenging but, if the right company is chosen, the payoff is on the bottom line.

Networking: Why are you just Talking to other Limo Companies?

Posted on June 30, 2010
Here at Create-A-Card, we have noticed how our many of our ground transportation customers are missing great opportunities to network with other businesses. Limo company managers have learned the many benefits of creating affiliations with other transportation providers, but are missing opportunities to create dialogues with a host of other businesses whose clientele dovetail with fleet services.

For example, set up exclusive package deals for customers who plan to use your limousine service to attend elegant galas. Contact beauty salons, day spas and formal wear rental companies and establish an account with them that stipulates flat discount rates for the customers you refer. This will make it easy to establish a budget for the package deals so you do not lose money. In return, you can offer packages featuring their product or service to your customers attending black-tie affairs. Create a win-win situation by arranging to have joint advertising on websites and printed materials.

For formal events like proms and cotillions, make arrangements with a floral business to supply corsages and boutonnieres at a bulk rate for customers you send their way. Locate posh clubs along popular routes and set up a running account that offers your limo customers a free drink and appetizer before — and after — the event. You can even make arrangements with a local photography studio to have pictures taken of their party exiting the limo.

When there are special events in your service area — like concerts, sports or opening nights — take the opportunity to work directly with event managers to set up package deals that include other vendors with which your are networking. Propose an advertising strategy that both parties can use to create a dual promotion. Offer seperate contests or drawings for a package deal that includes arrival in a limo. This strategy will promote your services to the public as well as create brand recognition for your limo company. With proper management, these type of mutual promotions can boost the business for both companies and create a buzz by launching a clever contest that attracts media attention.

Another networking strategy you can implement is offering event managers a list of reliable local references for the types of goods and services they routinely need. Include information on licensed electricians, light and sound technicians, security providers, gourmet food vendors and cocktail services. Let these companies know that you have posted their contact information on your referral list, and offer them incentives for sending you customers in return.

For your corporate customers, use the same strategy to develop a network of hotels — from five star accommodations for visiting executives to working suites for long-term contractors — for guests who use your ground transportations. Have coupons for local eateries and entertainment venues as well as nearby souvenir stores and local boutiques. To take it one step further, work with a local graphics company to make a colorful map of your area that highlights participating merchants that you can post online or print up to include in your welcome packages.

Create-A-Card can help you make the most of your network connections by providing the kind of marketing strategies designed to reach beyond your normal baseline. Using SEO strategies and social networking techniques, we can get your limo company affilitated with all the popular events in your region. Our knowledge of the ground transportation business can be put to your advantage as we explore and develop even more opportunities to network with community businesses, organizations and agencies in a way that drives more business to your door and helps promote the local economy.

Creating a Niche Marketing Plan for Green

Posted on June 21, 2010

These days, a great way to draw in new customers is by appealing to their environmental awareness. As a part of an effectively executed marketing plan, the promotion of your company’s eco-friendly advantages can help it stand apart from the competition in a dramatic and lucrative way. If you operate a limousine or transportation company, you’ve already got plenty of green benefits built in to the way that you do business. Why not play them up? A few top tips for doing so are outlined below.

Define Your Audience – Your niche marketing plan will be dead in the water if you don’t know who to aim it at. Many people rely on the services of transportation and limousine companies; many others are on the fence, but would use them quite often if the environmental benefits of doing so were made clear. Therefore, your target audience is mostly going to consist of people who either already use the services that your company offers – but who will become loyal customers if you promote your organization’s green benefits. Those who rarely use your services, but would do so more often if they knew the environmental benefits of doing so, would be another part of your target audience.

Choose Your Focus – You’ve already decided to focus your niche marketing plan on the green characteristics of your company, and of transportation companies in general. Now, you should zero in on a couple of ideas that you’d like to get across during your campaign. You could point out that passenger vehicles cause a lot more pollution than large buses do, on a per-passenger basis, or you could choose a number of different points to emphasize. The point is, you want to select a main point – and stick with it.

Present Your Points in a Clear Way - Whether your marketing campaign is going to be small or large, the main points that you’ve chosen to highlight should remain consistent throughout it. The last thing that you want to do is confuse your prospective customers.

Practice What You Preach – Finally, make sure that you can easily back up any claims that you make. Exaggerating or stretching the truth about the eco-benefits of using your company can backfire in a seriously damaging way. Besides, there’s no reason to do this: The limousine and transportation industry really does have many green characteristics that you can stress in your marketing campaign.

Generating Value Added Sales Online

Posted on June 14, 2010

With internet commerce becoming more competitive by the day, the importance of staying at the top of the search engine pile becomes crucial to a sound business strategy. Consequently, smart businessmen are realizing they need a good media consultant to create and maintain websites that can generate value added sales by linking current market trends directly to their product. Having an online marketing consultant can brings sales in from multiple targets by creating the kind of buzz that generates reviews, comments and affiliations.

Website Design

Generating added value content into your website is the first step in having a successful internet presence, and professional tricks of the trade are needed to make sure your copy, keywords and graphics all link together to form a cohesive unit. Visitors to your site should find well-crafted home pages that load quickly and provide direct links to further information. The order forms and shopping carts need to be simple, efficient and safe so customers don’t get frustrated and change their mind. A well maintained forum or on-line chat feature is an invaluable method to keep customers’ interest and overcome any objections.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Key words are the tool that media consultants use to drive sales to their customers’s websites, and like any tool, it takes a practised hand to get good results. To efficiently optimize a website, the key word combinations should be adjusted regularly to incorporate popular phrases and buzz words that rank high in search engine queries. Since 90 percent of internet commerce is generated from the first page of search engines like Google, maintaining a high SEO ranking is crucial.

Social Networking

Facebook and LinkedIn have inadvertently created a whole new promotional tool to drive quality traffic straight to commercial websites. Of course, this tool also requires a skilled hand to create the kind of strong web links that interconnect into a solid network. With proper programming, these sites can be regularly updated with minimum fuss so it is easy to add fresh, relevant content to multiple sites with a single posting.

Blogs and Microblogs

Creating and maintaining regular blogs on services like WordPress and Blogger provides yet another portal for media consultants to use to funnel interested customers to their client’s website. Informative blogs that address common customer questions may not seem profitable on the surface, but on a deeper level they develop product branding that can influence a customer’s final decision. Short, informative Twitter microblogs can be stylized to grab attention and generate the kind of word-of-mouth buzz that is still the best advertising technique in the world.

The professional team at Create-A-Card can provide your company with the kind of service and attention that can turn your website into a valuable asset. Just give us a call or drop us an email and we’ll be glad to show you some of the other tricks we have up our sleeve for keeping your internet business generating increasingly profitable returns.

Get Your Website to Generate Leads

Posted on May 24, 2010

In the world of internet commerce, content is king. By using key word formulas strategies, professional marketers (like Create-A-Card, Inc.) can cultivate casual readers into fresh leads for your ground transportation business. Effective promotions can be designed to collect specific core information from visitors to your websites and affiliates by incorporating well written forms and surveys that determine interest levels and can target which factors influence customers to use your service.

To design effective lead generating programs, you need to study current trends and determine what ‘hot buttons’ topics are related to the ground transportation industry. Promotional campaigns are then developed to show how these topics are being addressed by your limousine service. Related key words are skillfully incorporated into all the material so it will link to similar topics on internet search engines and come to the attention of consumers who have interest in such issues.

By incorporating these topics into press releases, blog articles and social network pages, potential customers are driven to your website. Once you have the readers attention, the next step is to encourage them to sign up. Common techniques include promoting subscriptions to newsletters, RSS feeds, Twitter alerts and blogs by providing fresh, relevant copy on a regular basis. These connections can be used to develop your corporate image and show potential customers that you share their concern about issues related to ground transportation services.

Another strategy is to design exciting promotions that offer contests for free services, coupon books or deep discounts that will encourage potential customers to fill out forms to collect targeted data, including contact information. These strategies can provide a wealth of statistical information that can be analyzed and used to cultivate new customers. Databases made from the contact information can be incorporated into email promotions and direct mail campaigns.

The same strategy can be applied to surveys and feedback forms that can be integrated into your website, blogs and social network site design. Side bar questionnaires can collect valuable information even if they do not record specific contact information. By inviting readers to leave their opinions of hot topic issues, a media consultant can analyze the data and calculate formulas to track the effectiveness of various strategies. To maximize the effectiveness of lead generation campaigns, media consultants can incorporate the results from polls in print, radio and television copy to generate interest and direct consumers to your website or establishment for further information.

A successful promotional campaign will help you develop a reputation as a ground transportation company that is actively involved with issues such as the environmental impact of ground transportation and the concerns surrounding the importation of oil and gas. Consequently, as your limo company establishes an activist image, new opportunities open up to interact with your existing and potential customers. This extends your capacity to gather information on the decision making process that guides consumer choices.

A good media campaign will skillfully blend a high-profile event that relates directly to identified hot button topics. For example, a contest offering free group transportation in a green fleet to a popular venue like a sporting event or concert can emphasize lowering the group’s carbon footprint, which can generate fresh interest in your limo services. Handled correctly, you can generate free media coverage that will expose your company name to an even wider audience. When you provide the right tools to collect valuable consumer information, your ability to turn leads into sales increases.

Give us a call and let us show you how we can help you get more sales!

Online vs. Offline – What is the difference?

Posted on May 13, 2010

To stay competitive in today’s ground transportation business, it is crucial to have professional help designing a marketing strategy that seamlessly incorporates your traditional media outlets and your printed material with your web presence. By coordinating and focusing all your advertising, marketing kits and press releases into a cohesive unit, you can make the most of both your online and offline campaigns instead of expecting them to function independently.

Remember, your basic goal is to keep your existing client base from being lured away by other limo companies while attracting the interest of potential customers. So you need to devise a campaign that succinctly explains why your limousine service is superior. By keeping your initial message direct and simple, it is easier to tie together all aspects of your media campaigns. The ultimate aim is to get interested clients to your website where they can access a wealth of details and services to get their questions answered quickly so they will place orders with your limousine service first.

To accomplish this, all of your offline print media — from business cards to brochures to full color glossy ads — should be designed to have a consistent look, feel and message so your audience can establish brand identification at a glance. These days it is not necessary to burden your print advertising with too much detailed information. Instead, concentrate on eye-catching images and quick, easy to remember messages that attract attention and prompt action. Each piece of printed material should, of course, prominently display your website address. Whenever possible, use special promotions to direct readers to your website for more details.

This same strategy should be carried over to any television and radio advertisements, especially the consistent branding and internet references. Of course you will want to develop audio and video presentations that will tie neatly into your pubic image. When you post these videos on your website, You Tube channel and company blog, you can significantly maximize the exposure of your productions.

The key point of this strategy is to peak your customer’s interest enough so they will visit your website for more information. It is much easier to track the success of your advertising campaigns on your website and to get feedback on what works — as well as what doesn’t — using online marketing resources.

Advertising on the internet does not mean just having a dynamite website, either, although that is extremely important. You need to establish many other tendrils throughout the world wide web that link back to your webpage. Social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter are invaluable for connections. But blogs, articles, press releases and comments on related stories can also be used to spread your message. Of course, it is crucial to set up proper key words and develop concise Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies to keep your business ranked high on services like Google.

It is not realistic to expect your regular staff to coordinate and implement such ongoing and complicated tasks. Missed steps in the process can put your business at risk of losing customers to multimedia savvy competitors. Consulting with professional advertising consultants who have cutting edge skills and a good knowledge of your business can help you determine strategies to set your limo company apart from all the others. We at Create-A-Card, Inc. can help you with all your social media marketing needs also–just call or email us today to get started.