Newsletter - 2011 07
Brought to You By BMA Marketing
Centers see phone calls DOUBLE during Heat Wave
Chris Swanson, Owner
Founded by Ray Tuttle
BMA manages Merchant Partner Coupon campaigns for centers around the country. To help track campaign results the coupons feature trackable toll free phone numbers (no extra cost) that ring directly at the center.
Each time the number is dialed, call information is captured...date, time, call length and CallerID and reported (sample report here... www.mcpct.bmamkt.com ) to the centers weekly. The center can even choose to have the calls recorded (no extra cost) and with one click review and identify the types of calls (hours check, lane reservations, party bookings) and also to gain insight into how their staff are handling incoming calls. More info...
New Bowler Marketing Results
We are grateful for the opportunity to fill lanes in our client centers...
Each month I’ll give you a new question. Just reply to this email for the answer.
What is the most common element found in the universe?
Why Not Pass Me On?
If you've enjoyed this newsletter and found its information useful, please pass it to another business owner or a co-worker.
Selections from the best articles seen online this month.
How to Turn a Monthly Customer into a Regular Customer
This article offers tips for turning occasional customers into regular customers. One idea is to hire ultra-locally. This can help you integrate into the neighborhood and also provide a reliable source of local intelligence. Another way to score points and encourage repeat customers is to plug into the local community by using vendors, suppliers and motifs from the immediate vicinity.
How to Write a Business Plan Outline
Writing a business plan is not something that needs to take months of effort, according to Ellen Rohr, author of a book called The Weekend Biz Plan. Rohr identified and explained the key elements that need to be in a business plan. First is a short (eight-to-25-word) mission statement that explains why you do what you do. Next are goals listed in terms of achievables such as dollars, numbers, hours or percentages.
Visit our Facebook Page and click the LIKE button to get updates on how Merchant Coupons are working in nearby centers... Click here
How to Be Available 24/7 Without Getting Tied to the Office
In today's global business environment, real-time response and 24/7 availability are the norm rather than the exception. "Always open" and "immediately available" are no longer key service differentiators for solopreneurs or small and medium-sized enterprises any more than they are for big-box stores or fast-food restaurants.
Today's consumers seek and expect instant gratification, whether they're shopping for services, products, information or late-night pizza delivery. Being open and available is essential to getting the business, and in fact, in many industries being the first responder is just as critical as product/service quality and competitive pricing.
Fortunately, it is relatively easy to stay in the loop without being tethered to your office, factory or shop. Unified communications enable business owners and solopreneurs to connect, interact, react and collaborate from a home, a vehicle, a satellite office or even an airport on virtually any device while presenting a seamless face to the customer. Conferencing and collaboration tools can be accessed via notebooks, pads or smartphones, giving business people the ability to respond to customer inquiries.
These tools also allow business people to source and retrieve documents; access files and records; communicate with vendors; supervise employees; work on documents or presentations; engage in audio and video conference calls; send texts, emails and instant messages; and do just about any other task that makes a small businesses functionally available.
Being available 24/7 is no longer a differentiator. It is now essential to survival for many small businesses.
* BMA has used a web based VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) phone company for 3+ years called www.RingCentral.com which has saved us thousands and provided features far beyond traditional phone companies. We can easily have the service send "certain" incoming calls to our cells or home based on time of day. We can even block the phone numbers of annoying callers so that they get a busy signal.
How to Set Up a LinkedIn Company Page
How to Sell at Margins Higher Than Your Competitors, by Lawrence L. Steinmetz
There are two simple but important lessons to take away from this book. First, business is a game of margins, not volume. And second, most businesses underprice their products and services.
One of the biggest mistakes a business can make is to cut prices and hope to make it up in volume. Although you would think this possible, the math just doesn't work, because by cutting prices you are slashing your margins. And that can be deadly.
It's a big reason for the large number of failures among small and midsize businesses.
The other mistake is pricing too low. Customers would have us believe that they shop mainly on price, but, as Steinmetz points out in this book, that is seldom true. They are willing to pay more if you offer value.
This book is essential reading for anyone in management or sales.
With more than 100 million members, LinkedIn is the top business social networking site. A company page on LinkedIn enables you to speak to millions of professionals about your company's products and services, job opportunities, and work culture. You can use a company page to bring your brand to life. You can also use a company page to highlight how members use your products or to post updates on key developments in your firm or your industry.
It takes only about 30 minutes to set up a LinkedIn company page.
First, however, you need to have an email address with your company domain.
This email address must also be listed on your profile.
Addresses tied to free email services like Hotmail, Gmail and Yahoo don't count.
To create a company page, click on "Companies" in the navigation bar near the top of the home page.
Then click the "Add a Company" link.
You will see tabs labeled "Company Overview," "Careers," "Products and Services," and "Analytics."
The overview provides a guide for setting up your company page and presenting a good snapshot of your company.
The "Products and Services" tab tells you how to showcase your offerings and highlight featured products.
The "Careers" tab allows you to interact with job seekers and describe your company's culture and hiring practices.
In addition to being a great place to promote your company to LinkedIn members, your company page gets listed in Google's and LinkedIn's search engines.
* Check out BMA's LinkedIn Company Page here
How to Choose a Website Designer
Quotes by...Samuel Goldwyn
From success you get a lot of things, but not that great inside thing that love brings you.
Give me a couple of years, and I'll make that actress an overnight success.
Give me a smart idiot over a stupid genius any day.
I don't want any yes-men around me. I want everybody to tell me the truth even if it costs them their job.
If you're planning to launch a new website or redesign an existing one, you'll want to work with a web designer who understands the essence of your business and can convey your brand and unique selling position effectively. How do you choose a designer who's right for you? Begin your search for a site designer by reviewing other websites - especially those of your industry peers. Note the features, functions, design elements and style characteristics that appeal to you.
Then look to see who developed the sites you like best. You can also find excellent designers on freelance job sites such as Guru, ScriptLance, Project4Hire or Elance.
Narrow your search by focusing on designers who have experience in your industry.
Look at their websites and check out their portfolios.
Are the sites well-planned, well-written, and easy to navigate?
Do they look professional?
Open a dialogue with a few promising candidates. Are they responsive, helpful and easy to deal with? Do they have answers to the questions you ask?
It's a good idea to discuss your site design and obtain cost estimates from several designers.
Request written proposals that detail the scope of work, timeline for completion, service terms and full cost of the project.
Be sure the proposal you choose gives you rights to your domain registration and to the site's intellectual property in case you decide to update or modify the site on your own later on.
Finally, check references.
Talk to current clients and ask tough questions about service, reliability, responsiveness and creative judgment.
* BMA finds that centers that use BPAA Web Services ($199 setup, $15 / mo) consistently have useful, updated and feature rich web sites that can do important business building processes including capturing email addresses and online web reservations. We like that the service will handle making all updates each month as needed. More info here...
What to Look for in a Sales Tracking System
Keeping track of leads, prospects and sales can be burdensome and time-consuming for sales professionals. Fortunately, the days of color-coded sticky notes, index cards, complicated files and spreadsheets have given way to easy-to-use sales tracking solutions.
Hundreds of software and online options are available, including many that are targeted specifically to certain industries. Following are some things you should look for when selecting a sales-tracking solution for your company:
Functionality: Focus on features that you will use on a daily basis, and don't be dazzled by unnecessary bells and whistles. For most salespeople the primary areas of use are:
- Contact management
- Lead tracking
- Sales funnel management and communication tracking
- Organization for appointments, tasks, opportunities and sales records
- Reports, including forecasting and sales analysis
Ease of Use: Many sales-tracking programs offer a free trial period during which you can assess how easy it is to learn and use the system. Consider how easy it is to find what you need and to add or update information.
Implementation and Compatibility with Other Systems: Look for a sales-tracking platform that integrates smoothly with other applications.
Cost: In addition to the initial capital outlay, consider expenses associated with installation and start-up, training, maintenance, and future upgrades.
Finally, make sure the application has strong user recommendations and a good customer service program and that it will continue to serve your needs.
* BMA has tried many database tracking systems (Excel, Outlook, MS Access, ACT, SalesForce,etc.). Our current solution, www.LongJump.com is a web hosted customer database that is affordable ($30 / mo) and most importantly for us, easily customized using a drag and drop approach. In addition to managing our customer data, we can create quick online custom databases (think online spreadsheet) and manage any kind of data...employee info, equipment, etc. We use the system to manage the phone call records for our clients that their Merchant Coupons generate. We also store that data from the data entry we handle for our client centers' Merchant Coupons.
BMA's Industry Partners
Contact our Industry Partners for immediate solutions. Also, when you select BMA to assist with filling lanes, you'll receive an exclusive email from us containing gifts and special offers from our partners...
BowlingIndustry.com - an online magazine + social networking community for bowling center owners, operators and professionals in the business of bowling.
BowlingMarketing.com - a complete bowling center marketing system that contains a ready to run Marketing Plan loaded with proven programs, timelines and task dates, customized material and weekly conference calls to drive and manage the process.
BowlingRewards.com - The Bowling Rewards program is a revolution in open play/league marketing and includes comprehensive database building features with electronic gift, cash back rewards and fundraising inside a single card.
Partywirks.com - convert your website visitors into buyers by offering online scheduling and buying capability.