Newsletter - 2011 10
Brought to You By BMA Marketing
Listen to a Former League Bowler
reconnect with Bowling
Chris Swanson, Owner
Founded by Ray Tuttle
Listen to a center take an incoming phone call from a former League Bowler whose interest in bowling was rekindled after seeing a coupon in a local merchant... click here
Strategies to Avoid a Deadly Price War
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Price wars are a business owner's worst nightmare. A 1% cut in pricing can easily reduce operating profits by 10% to 15%. In a sluggish economy, it can be tough to avoid getting sucked into a price war. The danger of price wars is that they alter the way customers view goods. When all market participants are charging about the same, customers tend to choose based on quality, service, etc. When one company reduces prices, customers start price shopping and making selections based solely on price.
Price wars are detrimental to all involved. They destabilize markets, destroy industry profits and seldom result in long-term benefits. Not only do price wars reduce margins in the short term, but it is often extremely difficult to get prices back up after the battle is over.
Following are some strategies to avoid this downward spiral of lower prices:
Know Your Customers' Price Sensitivity: If your brand is strongly positioned vis-a-vis the competition, you can probably charge a premium and still keep your customers.
Manage Capacity Carefully: The single biggest cause of price wars is over-capacity, which tilts the supply-demand equation and reduces the perceived value of goods.
Be Aware of New Technologies and Methods That May Affect Your Market:If a new technology becomes available, investigate it - and start using it. Also stay alert for new competitors who may be hungry to grow market share at your expense.
Consider Alternatives to Price Reduction: You might, for example, offer different products at different price points. Or you could look into reformulating, resizing or repackaging your products.
Time to Check Out Google's Rival to Facebook
Watch out, Facebook.
After only four weeks of active use, Google+ had 25 million users from around the world.
With a fast-growing audience and a focus on sharing items, brands and businesses have begun eyeing Google+ as a new way to connect with consumers and clients.
On July 21, Google removed profiles set up by companies, explaining that the Google+ platform is not yet ready to accommodate businesses.
Google manager Christian Oestlien hinted that a profile option for businesses would be announced in the coming months.
In the meantime, business owners can prepare their businesses so their debut on Google+ is smooth.
Following are three suggestions to get you started:
Learn the Ins and Outs of the Network: Sign up for a personal account so that you and your staff can become familiar with how the network functions. Learn how to use Google-specific tools like circles, sparks and data liberation so that you will be able to take full advantage of them when your business launches its profile.
Build Your Google+ Strategy: Begin brainstorming about how your business will use Google+ and for what purposes. Will you use it similarly to Facebook? Consider new ideas. Hangouts, the free video chat tool, could be used to have live question-and-answer sessions with your partners and clients.
Include Google+ in Your Social Media Policies: Once you have an idea of how your business will use the website, be sure to build guidelines around its use. Communicate to employees what rules will be in place so that your employees have a clear understanding before your profile is launched.
Ways to Get the Media Interested in Your Business
Selections from the best articles seen online this month.
5 Ways to Raise Your Rates and Keep Your Clients
James Clear offers practical tips on how to value your services and set or increase your rates. Be specific about the services you offer, he advises, so clients will understand and appreciate your value better. Consider using a tiered pricing structure for different levels of service, such as rush service, premium service, etc.
How to Get Creative: Stop Trying
Jason Fried believes it's perfectly okay to spend some of your time not firing on all cylinders. To those who wonder, "How can I jump-start my creativity and keep my edge?" Fried responds, "You can't. So stop trying." Motivation, productivity and efficiency are not constants, according to Fried. They ebb and flow. The key is to recognize a productivity surge when it appears, so you can roll with it. That's the time to get creative, focus on the interesting problems and ride the wave of creativity as long as it lasts.
The Facebook Era, by Clara Shih
A sentence from the introduction of this book neatly sums up where business stands in relation to social media: "Few companies have completely mastered the social Web, but many are doing one or a few things really well."
The world of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn has opened up many ways that a business can - potentially - reach its customers. But because there are so many options, many businesses are overwhelmed.
This book helps by providing an overview of what can be done...and what is being done. Reading it is like going through the large menu at your local diner. It all looks so good, but what to choose?
The best way to use this book is probably to choose a few tactics to try for your own business. The book is strong on using social media to communicate with prospects and clients and less strong on using these websites' potentially powerful advertising platforms.
Quotes by...Steve Case
I'm probably never going to be satisfied with anything we do. I think there's always the possibility of doing better. And I'd say we're doing better than we were a year ago, in terms of delivery and quality of service, but nowhere near what we should be doing.
If you believe that someday it's going to happen, someday it probably will happen. You just have to make sure you're there when it's happening, and ideally you're at the front of the parade, and the principal beneficiary of when it happens, but it's not a kind of thing where you just sort of sit back and wait.
Steve Case is the cofounder of America Online (AOL). Since leaving AOL, he cofounded investment group The Case Foundation.
Media coverage is an important part of marketing strategy. It can help you attract investors, increase sales, gain visibility and build your brand. Following are some ways to access media channels and connect with editors and reporters:Websites That Connect Reporters With Sources The best-known of these is Help A Reporter Out (HARO) at www.helpareporter.com. The site links reporters and bloggers, news sources, and small businesses to tell their stories, promote their brands, and sell their products and services. HARO sends out emails with requests from magazines, newspapers, online publications and others. Other similar social media services that link reporters with sources are Media Kitty, FlackList and Reporter Connection.
Media outlets are literally deluged with press releases, so it's important to ensure that yours is topical, is newsworthy and has a good angle. Make your release stand out by including a short video clip via a YouTube link or by adding high-quality photos. Be sure your release is well-written, factually accurate, and easy to scan with bullet points and rich content.
Build a Network of Media Contacts
One way to do this is to follow journalists on social media, such as Facebook and Twitter. Start by simply chatting with them. As you build a relationship, you can offer commentary, suggest topics and even pitch stories.
Position Yourself as an Expert
The media look for experts to provide comments on, analysis of and insight into issues and topics. One way to build your profile and establish your credentials as an authority is to author a blog.
While getting press coverage from magazines, newspapers and broadcast media takes time and effort, for small businesses it is well worth the investment.
5 Tools from 'the Cloud' That Could Help Your Business
"The cloud" and "cloud computing" are two increasingly popular buzzwords in the tech world.
Cloud computing refers to documents, resources and applications that any device with an Internet connection can access. For example, you can log on to Photoshop.com and use a basic photo editor on the website. The act of uploading your photos and editing online is cloud computing. Accessing your email online with a service like Gmail or MSN is also an example of cloud computing.
Curious about what cloud computing solutions are available for your business?
Following are five popular tools for small businesses to begin using the cloud:
Skype: Skype isn't just for chatting with long-distance friends. It's a low-cost solution for conference calls and video meetings.
Dropbox: Dropbox acts as a shared server for a small staff, allowing users to store, share and download files from one online location.
Google Docs: This is free; is compatible with Microsoft Office docs; and allows users to upload documents, presentations, or spreadsheets, or create and share new ones.
Bill.com: This is an online invoicing and accounts payable service that automates basic payment processes. It isn't free, but it makes sense for businesses that don't require a full accounts payable department.
Basecamp: This is an easy-to-use collaboration and project management tool. Users can share files, set deadlines on calendars, create templates, develop to-do lists and more.
A Bowling web site offer I want to share with you
A lot of my client centers use the BPAA Web design and hosting service and are very happy with the results and low cost... $199 template setup, then $15 / mo hosting. You can then login and enter your center name, address, phone, hours, etc. Easy as using email. Or you can have the BPAA Web Team load your new site with your center info for $199.
The BPAA Web Services group is offering a limited special...they will set up your site template for free (normally $199), and also waive the $15 a month hosting fee for the rest of 2011. So, starting in Jan 2012 the only cost is the $15 a month hosting.. More info...
New Bowler Marketing Results
We are grateful for the opportunity to fill lanes in our client centers...
*ROI does not include Birthday Party or Corporate Outing revenue
More results reported by our client centers... Click here
BMA's Industry Partners and Resources
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.
BPAAWebServices.com - features rich web sites designed for bowling centers at a very reasonable cost. BMA is not affiliated with the BPAA, but our client centers tell us they are happy with their BPAA web site, so we are glad to pass along solutions that work. We like the killer features... email list manager, online party reservation system, easy to update on your own or have BPAA web masters update for a small fee...and more.