PromoterZ Newsletter 5/5/06

PromoterZ Newsletter 5/5/06

The latest newsletter from PromoterZ:

PromoterZ NewZ--May 5, 2006

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In this issue:

- Seeds of Growth--principles that help businesses grow
- It's May--Do you know where your specials are?
- Increasing Response Rates
- Tell Us What You Think

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Seeds of Growth--principles that help businesses grow
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Where can you learn about fishing, gas for $2.55 a gallon, and what they both have to do with growing your business? We've launched a new blog that is focused on discovering and discussing the principles that help businesses grow. Nothing too serious, but hopefully some good tidbits that will generate new ideas and help you with your business. You can check it out at http://www.seedsofgrowth.com. Leave some comments and let us know what you think. We've also changed promoterz.com--see what you think.

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It's May--Do you know where your specials are?
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One of the most valuable benefits of using PromoterZ(TM) is the list of opt-in email addresses that it collects for you. You can use the list to build your relationship with your customers, share information with them, and encourage them to return. The list, however, does no good unless it is used. Remember, these are your customers that want to hear more from you--don't let them down.

One of the beautiful things about email is that it can be current and immediate. (You can read more about that here). As you think about the month of May, here are some ideas for specials:

- NBA playoffs--If your local team is still in the running, let your customers know you are a fan. (Game 7 Special! Go Suns!)

- Mother's Day--Lot's of options here. We can never do too much for our moms.

Those are the "biggies" but there are lot's of others. The best are those that are local and current. Here are a few others to get you thinking:

May 6th-International No Diet Day (my personal favorite)
May 9th-National Teacher Day
May 10th-Clean Up Your Room Day (we are definitely celebrating that in our house)
May 14th-National Dance Like a Chicken Day (huh?)
May 15th-National Chocolate Chip Day (my other favorite)
May 20th-Armed Forces Day

You get the point. Do a web search on May Holidays and then be creative. Also don't forget that you can get an email out in literally 5 minutes. If there is something very current happening, take advantage of it and get the email out. Your customers see countless generic commercials every day. Send them something refreshing and they'll appreciate it.

If you need help with art work or getting your special set up for May, send us an email. We're happy to help.

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Increasing Response Rates
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PromoterZ(TM) is a great tool that can help gather feedback, referrals, and opt-in emails. As we just discussed, it is also very powerful for proactively communicating with your customers. But none of it happens if your customers aren't participating. So how do you get more of your customers to participate? Here are some ideas from your fellow PromoterZ(TM) users:

1) Get personal--if you are handing out an invitation card, make a personal request. Don't just leave them on the counter or shove them in the bag, hand it to them and say "I would love your feedback. Would you mind taking just 60 seconds to let us know how we did?"

2) Be persistent--Tyler Slade of Canyonlands Insurance invites his customers by email. But, he talks to them on the phone before he sends the invite and lets them know it is coming. Then he sends the invite and if he needs to he follows up by phone. His response rate is high and, not surprisingly, so are his feedback scores.

3) Share the feedback--This isn't obvious, but the best way to get your employees excited about asking customers for feedback is to share the feedback with your employees. Chuck Matheny of Sport Clips swears by this. He says his stylists take more pride in the their work and are motivated by the feedback they receive.

4) Reconsider the incentive--If you are not offering an incentive, consider offering one. If you are offering one and your response rate is still not what you would like it to be experiment with other incentives. In general a "Free" offer is more motivating than a discount. Christine switched her Subway stores from $1 off a sandwich to a free cookie with great resutls. Also, and this ties back to number 1, don't forget to offer an incentive to your employees to encourage them to ask for feedback. Run a contest and give movie tickets to the employee that gets the most feedback.

If you have other ideas or questions about improving your response rate, send us an email.

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Tell Us What You Think
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Speaking of feedback, we are always looking for it. If you have ideas or suggestions for improving PromoterZ(TM) we would like to hear about them. Over the next few weeks we will be adding new features based on requests from users like you. If you have ideas, let us know. Here is our feedback link:

http://feedbackworks.com/1327

Also, just like you, we are always looking for referrals. If you would like to send a free month of PromoterZ(TM) to a friend or colleague please use this link:

http://promoterz.com/app/referrals/1327

That is it. Thanks for reading and thanks for your business!

Happy No Diet Day!

Dave Free
President
PromoterZ

The growth of your business will be determined by what your customers say about it. Do you know what they are saying? Learn more

Gas $2.55 a Gallon!

Gas $2.55 a Gallon!

That's right, you can still buy gas for $2.55 a gallon. Only drawback? You have to drive to Evanston, Wyoming to get it. Nothing against Evanston, I've been through there several times. Problem is that it is a long way from most places people live. Why is gas so cheap there? There appear to be two reasons. First, Wyoming fuel levies are the cheapest in the country and second a family of entrepreneurs by the name of Call.

Ruel Call started in 1937 with a small gas station and then in 1960 launched his own gasoline brand, Maverik, which now has about 175 stations. They helped pioneer self-service pumps and gas station convenience stores. In the mid sixties O. Jay Call launched another discount fuel retailer called Flying J. It did $7.3 billion in sales last year at 160 truck stops.

In 2003, Kristen Call, 36, a daughter of one of the Maverick Calls decided she could apply internet technology to cut more costs and keep prices even lower. The concept: pay for your gas online or at an unmanned kiosk at an unmanned station. The company is called iFuel.

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, iFuel didn't stay open long. It opened in Evanston offering fuel at 10 cents per gallon less than Maverick, but it didn't catch on with the locals. Many weren't on the internet yet and seemed confused by the concept. In addition iFuel used indoor key pads for their kiosks but didn't install them indoors. Ever been to Evanston in the winter? The key pads froze up and wouldn't work. Kristen is now focused on selling the internet payment software to big box chains with gas pumps.

So what is the take away? First, let's hear it for entrepreneurs! Want a real solution to gas prices? Turn a bunch of entrepreneurs loose on the problem--not congress.

Second, timing may be everything on a concept like this. I could be wrong, but I think if a chain of gas stations offered a 5 to 10 cent discount on pre-paid fuel purchased online they could do very well. Where do I join?

More happy customers. More repeat sales. More referrals. Learn more

Give Your Business a Quick Physical

What are the three most important things to look at to determine the health of any business? Is it income? Return on Investment? Book value? Revenue? If you could only look at three measurements what would they be?

Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, was recently asked that question. These are his top 3 which he says apply to any size organization:

1. How satisfied are the customers?

Do the customers want to come back? Do they like my stuff? Are they willing to refer me. Learn by doing surveys and get out of your office to talk with your customers. Become known as the person that always wants to know.

2. How satisfied are the employees?

Is my message getting through--is it in their blood? I need the most engaged energized people in the world.

3. How much free cash flow is available?

It's simple. You need more cash coming in than cash going out. Net income is for accountants, it is full of assumptions. Cash has no assumptions. It gives you true flexibility and is the one thing that frees you.

I really like Jack's list. I've been involved in organizations that have lacked one or more of the three. They didn't last long. If your employees aren't satisfied, it is doubtful that your customers will be. And if your customers aren't satisfied, the free cash flow can't be positive for long.

The real question is do you know the answer to each of the three? I'm betting you are very familiar with your cash flow situation. Every month those bills come due and you have to pay them some how. But what about employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction? Are you systematically and regularly getting a read on how your customers and employees feel?

You can listen to Jack's comments on the topic by downloading a podcast he and his wife (former editor-in-chief of the Harvard Business Review) produce called "The Welch Way." It is free and available on iTunes.

Customers who feel that you are listening to them are more likely to recommend you to a friend. How do your customers know that you are listening? Learn more

Use Email to Get Inside

Use Email to Get Inside

So now that you are systematically collecting opt-in emails from your customers (if you are not see www.promoterz.com) how effectively are you using email to build the relationship with your customers? Do you see email as just a cheap replacement for traditional print, radio, or TV advertising? If so, you are leaving opportunities on the table.

The other day I saw a "Graduation-Wedding-Mother's Day" sale advertised on television. I was a little surprised that they left out Memorial Day, but it highlights a few of the draw backs of the medium. First, it is shotgun meaning that everybody sees the same thing so you are tempted to provide something for everybody in the same ad. Second, it is expensive and takes time to create ads, so the inclination is to make them either very generic or, again, cover all your bases.

Email doesn't have those problems. You know exactly who you are sending to (and with your opt-in list you know they want it) and you can put an email together in a few minutes and send it out (if you can't, check out www.promoterz.com). With these strengths, if you are using email just to say what the other guys are saying on TV you are shooting air balls.

Think of the email you get from your friends. Do they send you "Happy Graduation-Wedding-Mother's Day" emails? No, chances are they talk about last night's game, what happened over the weekend, or a great place they visited. Email allows you to be immediate and to be current. Use it that way.

Here is an example. The Suns just lost game 4 of the first round of the NBA playoffs to the Lakers. If you've got a business in Phoenix how about a "Beat the Lakers Special" in preparation for game 5? Throw in a blurb about how many teams have come back from 1 and 3 in the first round and sign off with "Go Suns!"

Customers not sports fans? No problem, find another local or regional event to mention. The point is that there are thousands of businesses out there throwing millions of dollars at generic ads. With email you now have a way to cut through all that chaos and capture your customers' imagination and enthusiasm with some thing that is uniquely you and your business. So use it.

Hey, if you got a big guy inside--get him the ball!

Do you remember your customers on their birthday? On their anniversary? Do you give special notice to recently acquired customers? Promoterz does. Learn more

Building Trust Instead of Selling

Building Trust Instead of Selling

John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing fame was recently interviewed by a BusinessWeek editor. A few of the tidbits:

It appears to me that advertising itself is at an all time low for effectiveness, and businesses that really succeed are focusing on the idea of building trust and educating as opposed to selling.

When asked for the short list of what small businesses should absolutely be doing to market themselves, Mr. Jantsch responded with the following three:

  • One: Absolutely differentiate yourself from everyone. You have to find a way [to make] people say you're something different, whether that's to focus on a narrowly targeted market or [through] packaging. Otherwise you're just competing on price. And the line I use all of the time is that price is a really bad place to compete because there's always someone willing to go out of business faster than you.


  • Two: It's more important than ever, and easier and cheaper, to embrace technology, and specifically the Internet, as a tool to educate, market, and generate leads. It offers a tremendous way to automate the whole process and is a great tool for customer service and project management -- things that add value with clients. If a small business isn't taking advantage of these tools, they're giving up a great way to level the playing field with much larger companies.


  • Three: I always ask people how they got to where they are now. Amazingly, it's mostly through word of mouth referrals. The follow up question is: What do you do to systematically take advantage of that? One of the most powerful tactical aspects of marketing is referrals, and when it's done right, there could be zero cost.

Differentiate, use the Internet, and systematically generate word of mouth referrals. What a great list! I couldn't agree more. And you know the easiest way to do it? (shameless plug coming) PromoterZ is the easiest, quickest and most inexpensive way to do all three of those things. If you haven't already checked it out do it now at www.promoterz.com. (end of shameless plug)

You work hard to make sure your customers are happy. Don't waste happy customers. How easy is it for your customers to share with their friends? Learn more

Seeds from the blogworld
We search the business blog world looking for posts that illustrate principles, or "Seeds", that if followed, or "planted", will help small businesses grow. We list them here for your convenience. Enjoy.
I grew up in the west and now live in Arizona. There is a simple rule for growing things out here (this rule applies everywhere but is more obvious in the arid west): if it doesn't get water it does ...more.
After describing modern consumers and their desire to watch or read what they want, when they want, the current issue of Business Week concludes: The result: a serious case of attention deficit for ...more.
What is the most compelling thing about your business from your customers' perspective? Is it remarkable? ...more.
Another example of the power of promoters. Shade Clothing sells undershirts for women that are longer than normal for those that aren't interested in showing the world their belly button. It was fou ...more.
I read recently about a musician--a cello player to be exact--that moved to New York City. She didn't know anyone in the city and was looking for opportunities to play her cello. Her solution? She ...more.
I read a great article recently about George Washington. As I read about his amazing leadership characteristics it occurred to me that they are the same characteristics any entrepreneur or business l ...more.
On the company the effect is like being assimilated into the Borg, but for users of their software it's like having a friend with a malignant brain tumor. You're going to have to say "goodbye" soon t ...more.
What says summer more than traveling carnivals? Cotton candy, hot dogs, rides that go around and around until you puke! Does life get any better than that? I submit that it cannot! The blog worl ...more.
Remarkable is the key here. These native american kids are remarkable in and of themselves. Their product follows suit. They have figured out government issues, food serving issues, product, marketi ...more.
In the cluttered marketplace we compete in, I don't think the power (and necessity) of staying in touch can be overemphasized. I learned the lesson again last week--thankfully in a good way. It had ...more.

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