While tried-and-true B2B marketing techniques such as search engine optimization (SEO) and email still bring plenty of prospects to the door, social media entices them to enter a dialogue, pick up some information of value and step into the sales funnel. Social provides an environment where salespeople can develop a relationship with potential purchasers. Moreover, according to a January 2013 survey of both business-to-consumer (B2C) and B2B marketers at small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) worldwide by Social Media Examiner, it provides a host of other benefits as well.
Marketers can now access Shutterstock’s inventory of millions of high-quality images directly through Facebook’s ad creation tool. The social network says the new feature will be particularly helpful for small businesses, which may not have previously had the resources to procure quality images for their ads.
This is also good news for Facebook users: Those sidebar ads are probably going to start looking a lot more attractive.
Advertisers will also now be able to upload multiple images with the ad creation tool in order to test which one works best.
“As the digital world becomes increasingly visual, businesses need images to stand out and reach new audiences,” said David Fraga, Shutterstock’s vice president of corporate development. “Not every business has a team of designers to help communicate their message, and so the Shutterstock integration allows Facebook advertisers of all sizes to search and choose from millions of high-quality images at the point of ad creation.”
Here’s what marketers will be looking at in Facebook’s page manager app on iOS:
Small business websites widely seen as most effective marketing technology
Small businesses, frequently strapped for both time and cash, often need their marketing dollars to work double time—using the same resources to attract new business and retain loyal customers.
Online marketing service provider Constant Contact conducted a survey in October 2012 of 1,305 small businesses and nonprofits from its customer base to see how different tactics and channels balanced customer acquisition with customer retention.
Respondents were most likely to say that their website struck an effective balance: 77% said the site was well-suited both to engaging existing customers and attracting new ones. A majority of respondents felt similarly about their blog (69% said it was effective at both tasks) and their social media marketing efforts (60%).
Social media is now the second most-used online marketing tool among small businesses, according to a May 2013 survey by Constant Contact.
An impressive 87% of small businesses now run some form of social media marketing, compared to just 10% five years ago.
However, email — used by 98% of small businesses — remains the most popular form of marketing. (A separate study found that e-mail had quadrupled its share of customers acquired at many businesses over the last four years.)
The Constant Contact survey polled 917 decision-makers at U.S. small businesses.
As small businesses grow more comfortable with social media, they are also adapting their marketing efforts to the newer platforms. Constant Contact surveyed the same pool of small businesses back in March to find out which social media platforms they find effective for doing business:
- Facebook: 82% (vs. 75% in May 2012)
- LinkedIn: 29% (vs. 10 percent in May 2012)
- Twitter: 25% (vs. 7% in May 2012)
- YouTube: 15% (vs. 3% in May 2012)
- Pinterest: 9% (vs. 1% in May 2012)
- Yelp: 6% (vs. 2% in May 2012)
- Google+: 5% (vs. 1% in May 2012)
In other words, Facebook remains dominant, but small businesses also are successfully expanding their engagement to reach audiences across multiple networks.
Need a Cake bakery owner Rachel Brown decided to put up a 75% discount on a dozen cupcakes on the site, which dropped the price down to $10 from $40.
Apparently, people really love getting cupcakes cheap, because she was rushed by throngs of customers in a cupcake frenzy. 8,500 people signed up, and her crew of eight had to make 102,000 cupcakes to meet the orders.
Brown lost $3 per batch because she had to hire 25 extra workers to help, and she ended up losing $20,000 because of it, which a ton for a small biz. It wiped out her profits for the year, reports the Daily Mail.
“Without doubt, it was my worst ever business decision,” she told the BBC. “We had thousands of orders pouring in that really we hadn’t expected to have. A much larger company would have difficulty coping.”
This is just the latest in Groupon small business horror stories. A story popped up in September about a Portland cafe losing $8,000 because of a Groupon, which prompted a personal letter from founder and CEO Andrew Mason.
It brings up the always-present question about the daily deals site: does Groupon suck for small businesses?
Well, it looks like most small businesses think so. An overwhelming majority of 70% hate Groupon, if the latest survey from iContact is to be believed.
As for Brown and her bakery, the experience may have cost her 20 grand, but what about all the exposure she’s getting for her store? Great, right? It doesn’t hurt, but it probably wasn’t worth the cost.
Small businesses like this bakery thrive on relationships with their local customers, not crowds of outsiders coming in to snatch up a free lunch.
Getting new customers is great, but in this case, the bakery rewarded the wrong customers. Those 8,500 people that rushed for the Groupon probably won’t be coming back to pay for the same cupcakes at quadruple the price.
Only those the store has nurtured relationships with for a long time (in Brown’s case, 25 years), should be the ones rewarded. They’re the ones that keep coming back for more.
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Groupon Now is a mobile app that shows users all the deals surrounding them on a map.
Because it allows Groupon to offer more deals than one per day, Groupon Now is the future of Groupon’s business.
As Groupon’s margins compress, Groupon Now is supposed to save the company by bringing in a huge volume of sales.
Also, because the deals are offered in “real-time” Groupon Now is an important part of Groupon’s plan to become a “yield management platform for small businesses” – as one source recently described the vision to us.
Unfortunately, according to Yipit, Groupon Now isn’t growing very fast.
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Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.
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