Marketing

Category: Marketing Blog posts

The Rialto Mobile Marketing Blog

By Tim Fitzpatrick 10 Jul, 2017
If your company is like most, you are heavily focused on new customer acquisition. There's nothing wrong with that, but often times customer retention and loyalty get overlooked at the expense of new customer acquisition.

What good is acquiring new customers if you are having trouble retaining them? Acquiring new customers and then retaining them really go hand in hand. You must have both in your business to maximize growth & profit, and to have a sustainable business long term.

I'm going to give you the key to managing customer retention in your business and it's one word...

MEASUREMENT.

By Tim Fitzpatrick 15 Jun, 2017
As a small business owner, I'm sure you want to increase the growth of your business. I'd bet you also want to maintain the loyalty of every customer, whether they are new or long-time customers. Customer loyalty is an incredibly important aspect for the success of any small business. It costs a significant amount of money to acquire new customers.  Having systems in place to keep those new customers coming back will not only save you money, it will increase your business too.

Providing the best customer experience possible will go a long way to encouraging loyalty and engagement with your customers. Here are seven strategies to help you.

By Tim Fitzpatrick 07 Jun, 2017

Customers are the backbone of any business and every small business owner should strive to please them by providing the best customer experience possible. Depending on which study you read and what industry you are in, acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one. 

Customer retention and loyalty are critically important for any small business. A customer who is unhappy can take their wrath to social media or other online platforms, which can quickly bring negative impacts to your business. Creating an excellent experience for your customers will help in nurturing new and existing relationships and provide opportunities for your business to grow.

Here are 7 tips on how to keep your customers remarkably happy.

     

  1. Talk to your customers regularly

    Schedule periodic calls with your customers to learn more about them and what you can do to make their lives easier. Ask great questions that will help you identify your businesses strengths and weaknesses. You'll build stronger relationships and learn new ways to grow your business in the process.

  2. Strive to be different

    Being different sets you apart from your competitors. Let’s admit it; most people are usually attracted to the leading brands in the market. You certainly want to be as great as possible, but what makes you different? Why should someone buy from you instead of your competitors? Identify those attributes that make your business unique and special, then promote the heck out them! 

  3. Create valuable content

    Content will help you build authority in your field.   Sharing new market insights, opportunities and your opinion on certain matters will also help you stay on top of your game. Podcasting, blogging, video...the type of content you choose to put out really depends on you. Do what you are comfortable with. If you publish valuable content that helps your customers succeed they will be eternally grateful to you and your business.

  4. Be decisive

    A majority of clients come to your business because they believe you are an expert . You cannot afford to be uncertain about what you can and cannot accomplish for your clients. They need to read confidence in the conversations you have with them. Avoid words such as “if” and "maybe" in your communications. Taking the time to prepare for your client conversations will help ensure you come across as the expert and instill confidence in your clients.

  5. Be realistic on what you can offer

    One of the most common mistakes small businesses make is over promising to their clients, which inevitably leads to disappointment. You may think such a move will increase sales, but if you consistently do not meet expectations it will negatively impact your reputation and customer retention. Upset customers are likely to share their bad experience with a number of people.  Even worse, most unhappy customers won't say a word to you about it, you'll never even know.  In order to prevent negative chatter about your business set realistic expectations so you don’t end up disappointing your clients.  Focus on underpromising and overdelivering!

  6. Identify opportunities proactively

    Make proactive efforts to know what needs to be done to improve the customer experience rather than waiting for customers to make suggestions. This is closely related to #1 above.  By communicating with customers regularly via surveys, email, phone and in person you can gather critical information on areas of improvement. Proactive communication with clients sends a message that you care about them and their investment in your business benefits them too.

  7. Always show your customers kindness and gratitude

    Customers are the lifeblood of your business. Something as simple as saying “thank you” shows customers they are greatly appreciated. So many people have forgotten what it means to be humble, kind and sincere. Letting your customers know how much you truly care is one of the best ways of building customer loyalty. Find the touch points in your business where you can add individualized messages to let your customers know they are appreciated.  You won't be sorry you did.


Some of the most impactful things you can do to grow your business are the simplest.  These tips are very actionable.  I hope you found at least a few that will help your business grow.


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By Tim Fitzpatrick 23 May, 2017

Are you the kind of small business owner who thinks you cannot afford to implement an effective marketing plan without spending loads of money?

Marketing doesn’t have to involve expensive forms of advertising like TV/radio commercials or Google Adwords. The fact is, your business risks losing customers if it fails to market its products and/or services regularly. 

Your small business needs cost effective marketing tactics. Fortunately for you, there are tons of cost effective ideas you can use to increase your revenue when you are operating under a tight budget.

Here are 6 cost effective ideas you can use:       

  1. Talk to your clients

    One of the best ways a small business can increase revenue is by talking to existing clients. You can do this yourself or you can hire an outsider to interview your clients. With a third party involved, your clients might be more willing to open up about their opinions of your business.  Choose a random sampling of your customer list and have at it! The information collected from the interviews should help you identify the areas that need attention.  One thing you should avoid is getting angry with your customers for sharing their opinions, even if they are negative.  The feedback, positive or negative, will help you tremendously.

  2. Leverage your local community

    Marketing tactics don’t have to be the big ideas used by most large businesses; you can choose to focus on your local community first. Getting involved in cause marketing can go a long way for many small businesses.

    Figure out what’s going on in your community so you can join in on events that are relevant to your business. For instance, you can sponsor a charity event or join residents during an environmental cleanup day. Getting involved with organizations and events that complement your business is a great place to start.  People value and appreciate such acts, and in the process, you get opportunities to build relationships with people in your community.

    For more information on cause marketing, you might enjoy this article - The Complete Guide to Cause Marketing .

  3. Public relations

    A lot of small business owners assume they cannot create PR without hiring the services of a highly priced firm. Although PR firms bring multiple contacts and experience, a small business can also create publicity in ways that attract many customers.  

    Many forms of PR are completely free.  Getting placement in local news publications, radio or TV can bring huge exposure to your business. Public relations also increases social proof, which builds credibility and trustworthiness for your business. 

    PR for Anyone  has some great tips for small businesses on a budget.

  4. Leverage existing relationships

    Everyone has friends. I've heard multiple times that each person knows at least 200 people. The reach of those 200 people is significant. As a small business owner, spend time networking with people you already know such as clients, friends, colleagues, people you meet at professional meetings and even family members.

    Be strategic about where you spend your time networking.  Not all relationships are created equal and you want to make sure you're leveraging the most from your networking time.  Being clear about the types of referrals you are looking for will also help your networking partners easily identify solid referrals for you.

    You should strive to educate first then sell later and you should always be on the lookout to find new ways you can add value to the folks in your network.

  5. Partnerships

    Collaborating with non-competitive businesses that complement yours is a very effective marketing tactic. When choosing businesses to partner with look for businesses having similar values to yours.

    There are a plethora of opportunities when partnering including bundled promotions, webinars, and co-sponsored direct mail. Just think about what you can do to add value to their audience and vice versa. Through collaboration, clients have an opportunity to learn more about your products or services from a business they already know, like and trust.

  6. Use email marketing

    Email marketing is flexible, cost effective, has a high impact and the results are easy to measure. It is still THE preferred method of marketing for most businesses.  

    One critically important fact about your email list to never forget, unlike Facebook likes or Youtube followers it is a list you own.  You never have to worry about losing your email list because Facebook made a policy update or changed an algorithm.

    The key to marketing to your email list is consistency and value.  You've got to be consistent.  Whether it's once a week or once a month, find a cadence that works for you and stick with it.  Focus on adding value in your email messages first prior to selling.  If all your email messages are focused on buy this or buy that, you will end up with poor results. 

    Are you looking for an email marketing platform to use?  I like Mailchimp and Mailerlite .

I hope you got at least one takeaway you can use for your business.

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By Tim Fitzpatrick 11 May, 2017
According to Bain & Company , it costs seven times more to attract new customers than it does to keep them.
By Tim Fitzpatrick 08 May, 2017
Guest Post by Colibri Digital Marketing , San Francisco’s only full service B Corp-certified digital marketing agency .
By Tim Fitzpatrick 18 Apr, 2017
Anyone involved in the selling process for your small business no doubt needs to find the correct email address to reach a prospect.  Finding email addresses for your B2B prospects doesn't have to be difficult.

I've found a handful of email tools to be very helpful. This video walks you through the tools I use most of the time. It’s pretty rare to not find the email address I am looking for in a short amount of time.   Watch the video now.
By Tim Fitzpatrick 13 Apr, 2017
Quick disclaimer: this article is primarily geared towards small to medium sized businesses and organizations who have or are thinking about using a mobile app as a marketing/communication tool for their business (Example: a salon owner, local restaurant or school).  It's not for an app entrepreneur who has created an app that is essentially their business (Example: the latest fitness tracking app or Snapchat).

Now that I've made that clear let's get started.  

You have a distinct advantage in marketing your app because you already have a built in customer base, community or audience.  Your mobile app will be used as a tool to communicate with, add value to and engage that audience.  You don't have to worry about creating an app and then finding an audience.  You've already got the audience, which is huge!

Don't waste time marketing your app to anyone besides your current customers/audience.  


The probability of someone who is not a current customer downloading your mobile app is slim to none.  There are a number of ways to effectively market your app.  I'm going to provide you with seven ideas to get your creative juices flowing.   

First, we need to list the common marketing channels you might use to promote your app.  Then we'll discuss some clever ways you can implement to promote your app in these channels.  The list below is by no means comprehensive, so add any additional channels you may be using in your business.

Common Marketing Channels to Promote Your App

  1. Social Media
    Any social media channels you are active on should be included as a place to promote your app and its benefits.

  2. Website
    Your website is the hub for all your marketing efforts.  Your mobile app should have strong placement that let's current and potential customers know why and how to download your app.

  3. Email Marketing
    Email is still a primary marketing channel for many businesses.  Take advantage of your current customer list and create targeted email messages about your mobile app.  I would highly recommend your email messages solely focus on your mobile app.  If you bury your mobile app launch into a weekly or monthly communication with a bunch of other information, it will most likely get skipped over.

  4. Content Marketing
    What type of content are you putting out?  Blog? Podcast? Videos?  Use any of your content marketing channels to announce and promote your app.

  5. Online Advertising
    If you are using online advertising this can be a great channel to promote your app.  Make sure you target your advertising to current customers.

  6. Offline (in person, direct mail, print advertising, etc.)
    There are all kinds of things you can do offline to promote your app.  Create a list of the different offline interactions your have with customers and make sure you promote your mobile app in everyone of them!

You will want to promote your app in all the marketing channels you currently use.  Marketing your app is not rocket science.  Creating a clear plan with a timeline and the actions that need to be completed will help ensure your mobile app is a success.

Below are 7 different ideas you can use to effectively market your app.  Feel free to tweak as appropriate for your business or organization.

  1. In App Sharing
    You want to make it easy for app users to share your app and spread the word.  In app sharing will allow users to do this easily.  The easier you can make it for someone to share your app, the higher likelihood it will happen.  Having in app sharing in your app is easy and something I would definitely recommend doing.

  2. Online Advertising Targeted Towards Current Customers
    I am by no means an advertising expert, but you can use things like Facebook Custom Audience to upload your current customer list and promote your new mobile app to that specific audience.  This is a highly targeted way to reach your current customers consistently over a period of time.  Create an eye catching ad with an incentive or offer for downloading your app.  By targeting existing customers you will reach the people most likely to download your app...super effective.

  3. Offer Incentives For Downloading
    Sometimes people need a push to do something.  Offer an incentive to anyone who downloads your app.  Freebies, one time discounts or extra loyalty stamps are a few ways to do this.  Offering a strong incentive is your way of saying thanks and will go a long way in driving app downloads and letting customers know you appreciate their support.

  4. Ensure Permanent App Placement in Your Current Marketing Channels
    You've got your social media icons on your website, email signatures and email marketing right?  You need to do the exact same thing for your app.  Placing the app store icons on the homepage of your website, email signatures, email marketing, social media pages, etc. will be a consistent reminder to your audience.  Best of all, you only have to do this once and it's done!

  5. Create a Contest
    Your contest can come in one of two forms.  First, you might create a contest to promote downloads similar to offering an incentive in step 3 above.  For example, everyone who downloads the app will be entered to win a specific prize.

    Second, you might create a contest to encourage users to share/promote your app for you.  For example, you can choose a random winner each week who promotes your app via social media with a specific hashtag.

    If possible, I would recommend offering a motivating prize that brings people back to your business.  For example, a restaurant might offer a free dinner for 2.
     
  6. Promote Your App's Benefits Onsite or In-Store
    If your business or organization has consistent clients visiting your place of business you need to take advantage of this.  Promote your mobile app onsite with flyers, table tents, sales receipts and anything else you deem appropriate.  The key is to take advantage of having a captive audience in your place of business.  You want to make sure they know about the app and the benefits they will receive by downloading it.

  7. Get Customer Testimonials
    It's one thing for you to tell customers how great your app is, but it holds a lot more weight if they see the great things other customers are saying about your app.  Customer testimonials will provide social proof for your app and further encourage others to download it so they can start to realize the same benefits.  If you can get testimonials about the specific benefits customers are experiencing it will be much better than just a generic "this app is great" type statement.

I hope these ideas got you excited about the plethora of ways to promote your mobile app.  Promoting your mobile app doesn't have to be difficult or expensive.  The most important thing is to create a plan and consistently promote the benefits your customers or audience will see by using your mobile app.

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By Tim Fitzpatrick 28 Mar, 2017
Let me set the scene...  

I'm on vacation celebrating my 10th wedding anniversary.  It's early in the morning and I'm taking a quick glance through my email inbox before heading out for another day at the beach.  I think most of us have done this at least a few times while on vacation.

The subject line of one email caught my eye.  It started with "Image License Inquiry".  Who the hell is that from?  So I opened the email and proceeded to read...

Apparently I had used an image on my website that was copyright protected.  The email was requesting proof of my license to use the image or remove it from my website promptly.  The last part of the email is what gave me a pit in my stomach,  "Please be aware that removal of the imagery will not resolve this issue. We do require payment of a settlement for past usage of the imagery at issue."  My mind immediately started racing about how large this "settlement" might be.  This is just what I needed while on vacation.  

Has this ever happened to you?  It may not have been a copyright issue, but as a small business owner I know you've run into any one of the multiple issues that can pop up at the most inopportune times.

I promptly had the image removed from my site and waited for a response on how much money I owed.  Turns out this was a $485 mistake!  In the case of copyright infringement, ignorance is not bliss and it's not a defensible position.  I made the mistake (unintentionally) of using an image I wasn't supposed to.  My bad and one I'll add to the long list of mistakes I've made as an entrepreneur.  I'm certainly not a copyright expert, but I am much more knowledgeable now than I was before.

CLICK HERE for a glossary of copyright terminology.  You can also search "image copyright" and all kinds of information will pop up.  It's worth spending a few minutes to learn the lingo, but I'll warn you it can be a little confusing.

I hope you never run into this issue and to help you I've put together a list of the best FREE stock image websites I've found.  With all the content most small businesses are putting out there these days finding the right images can be tough and paying for all your images can get really expensive.   It's super important to double check the license on any image before you choose to use it.   All the sites below have a section explaining the licensing.

Here are some of my favorite FREE stock photo sites.  These are the ones I find myself going back to time and time again.  It's pretty rare for me to not find what I'm looking for on one of these 5 sites.

  1. Pixabay : This is one of my favorites for free images and videos you can use anywhere.

  2. Unsplash : Free (do whatever you want) high resolution images.

  3. StockSnap.io : Beautiful free stock photos free from copyright restrictions.

  4. Pexels : The best free stock photos in one place.

  5. FreeImages : This is a good site, but be careful because there are premium images you need to pay for.
 
Here are some additional sites you might want to check out as well:

  1. SplitShire :  Free stock photos and images for commercial use.

  2. Life of Pix : Free high resolution photography.

  3. Public Domain Archive : New 100% free stock photos. Every. Single. Week.

  4. Gratisography :  Free high-resolution pictures you can use on your personal and commercial projects.

  5. ISO Republic :  Free stock photos for creatives.

These are all great resources to help you find the images you need without spending money every time.  Between these 10 sites you should be able to find what you are looking for.

Did you find this helpful?  Do you have other favorites?  Feel free to comment below and share.

Check out our FREE cheat sheet to convert more of your website visitors to customers.   Click the image below to get it now.
By Tim Fitzpatrick 16 Mar, 2017

Your website is the hub of your marketing efforts and the first impression most customers have of your business.  Don't you want it to be great?  Make sure your new website or website redesign meets your expectations.  You can use the following list of questions when interviewing potential website design companies.  These are essential questions you'll want to know the answers to.

Let's get started...

1. What services do you offer?

Do they offer any other services you might be interested in?  Just because a company offers a host of digital marketing services doesn’t necessarily prove anything.  Digital marketing is very complex and companies that specialize may provide a better service to you in the long run.  You want to be careful you don’t get a “jack of all trades and master of none”. A quality design firm will be able to connect you with other service providers if necessary.

2. Do you custom design websites or use pre-made templates?

Some companies offer both options, but you will pay more for a custom site.  Many of the pre-made templates today can be tweaked to your needs.  It’s important to note that templates are typically built based on proven, time tested designs. You are not getting an inferior product using a template.  Discuss your website needs and ask for a price comparison of the two before making your decision.

3. Can you provide examples of websites that your company designed?

Check out the examples you are given.  Are they easy to navigate?  Are the designs current and modern? Do you think they are a strong first impression for the business? 

4. What strategies will you use to generate revenue for my site?

The company you select to design your website should be just as concerned about generating revenue for your business as you are. What tools would they recommend for your site to drive revenue for your business? Your website is the hub of your marketing efforts.  How will the design firm create a functional, well performing site that generates revenue for you?

5. How will my project be managed?

This will help you get an idea how the firm works and what to expect throughout your project.

6. Who will be working on my website?

This is another question that will help you understand how the firm works and what to expect.

7. How long will it take to complete my website?

The turnaround time for a website design is based on the scope of the work required and how quickly you provide the firm with the required information (images, content, etc.). What’s the typical turnaround time if the firm has all the content? What happens if timelines aren’t met?

8. How much input will I have with my website design?

During your initial consultation, a web design firm should ask you questions to get a feel for your business, how you want your business to be seen and the types of websites you like. This will give the designer a good idea what your business is like and what you need out of your website.  You should have the ability to be involved in the design as much or little as you want.

9. What happens if I don’t like the initial design?

Can you make design changes and how many? This will usually be outlined in the project proposal/agreement.  It’s important to review the process and the policy for changes with the design firm.

10. What do you need from me to get started?

You will usually need to provide any images and other content you want on your site.  Most firms will also require a signed agreement/proposal (which is a good idea to ensure you and the firm are on the same page).

11. Will my website be built to expand as my business grows?

Businesses are dynamic and constantly changing.  How easy is it to make changes and updates to your site as your needs change?  How much will future changes to your site cost?

12. Can you create a logo for my site?

If you don’t have a logo or have been thinking about a new logo, a website redesign is a great time to implement a new logo for your business.

13. Can you help me get images for my website?

You want to ensure you do not run into any copyright infringement issues with images used on your website. Ask the firm if they have access to any free images or if you need to pay for images.

14. How do you price your services?

Pricing from web design firms varies significantly.  Are they billing on a flat project price or hourly?  “You get what you pay for” is good to keep in mind.  There are a number of inexpensive website options out there, but the quality of work will typically reflect the price you pay.  Your website is the hub of all your marketing, do you really want to skimp on it?

15. What is included in the price?

You need to know exactly what you are paying for.  Are you going to get hit with a bunch of surprise fees as you finish the project? Some firms offer hosting, maintenance and ongoing support.  Others do not.  Know exactly what you are paying for and what you are not.

16. Will my website be compatible with smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices?

This is an absolute must!  Do not work with a design firm that can’t deliver a responsive site.  Having said that, some firms deliver a much better responsive site than others.  Are they adjusting content for different screen sizes? If so, why and how are they doing it?

17. Do you build search engine optimization into websites?

Will your website be coded with SEO in mind? It’s a good idea to have a third party SEO firm conduct an SEO audit prior to launch to make sure there aren't any major issues.

18. How do you determine keywords for my site?

The right keywords are a vital part of a proper SEO (search engine optimization) strategy.  Having said that, keyword research is completely outside the scope of most website designs. Does the designer have experience working with third party SEO firms?

19. What type of content management system do you use?

The content management system allows you to manage your website’s content without the need for coding. The most advantageous content management system offers the option of updating your website yourself or having the website firm integrate the content and do the updates for you. Ask whether the type of system used is a third-party system or a custom built one of their own.

20. Do you offer domain name registration?

Before a website can go live, it needs a name. Most full-service web design firms will handle domain name registration. Ask the firm if it will check whether the name you want for your site is available, if they will register it for you, how many years the domain name registration is for and the cost for performing this service.

21. Will I be able to see the website as you’re creating it?

You may want to be able to check your website throughout the design process.  Does the firm have a way of giving you access to the site anytime during your project?

22. Will the functionality of my website be tested before it goes live?

Your site should be tested before going live.  What types of tests will the firm perform prior to your site going live?

23. Will my current site experience downtime as you update it?

When your new site is ready to go live it is important to know how this will impact your current website.  What will be involved in the transfer process?  What will the firm do to minimize any downtime?

24. Do you offer web hosting services?

Some web design firms offer hosting (meaning your website will reside on their hosting services), others do not.  If they offer hosting find out what their hosting includes.  

25. Will you integrate social media into my web design?

How will the firm integrate your social media accounts into your website? Will they include this in their fee or will it be extra?

26. Do you offer on-going maintenance after my site goes live?

Once your site goes live will you be on your own or will you have access to the support you need?  How quickly will the firm respond to your needs?  You don’t want to be one of those people scrambling for website help when you really need it.

27. Will I be able to access my website statistics without contacting you?

There are a number of analytics platforms out there.  What does the firm use for analytics and will you have access to it when you need it?


That's it!  Get the answers to these questions and I think you'll have a pretty great idea which website design company will be the best fit for you.

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