15 May 2016

Meetings - Modest or Mega - Mandate Social Media Marketing

E-Marketing for E-vents for Effect (credit: 8One6)

The “E” in “Event” may as well stand for “eMarketing.”

 Small business events cover a multitude of categories:

·         In-store or online sales
·         New product or service introductions and announcements
·         Location openings
·         Face-to-face meetings
·         Webinars
·         Booths and exhibits at a conference
·         Presentations by principals
·         Intangible events (awards, certifications, distinctions, new affiliations, partner co-promotion)

At the Event – And Afterward

If you thought you’d be able to rest on your laurels once the event begins, nothing could be further from the truth. True – it’s too late to improve pre-registration volume, but some of the most effective promotion can be done during the event. Create and respond to Tweets using the event hashtag during the event. Live event Tweets and Instagram posts can include everything from countdown announcements to selfies.
Postmortem Your eMarketing duty is not fully discharged until you’ve reviewed your event campaign analytics and received feedback from attendees. No matter how well it went, you’ll be able to improve tactics for the next event. 

Note: The full story is a white label report that appears on a major telecomm site. For more, see Storyteller.tech where you can browse previous story summaries.

Image credit: 8One6 @ Flickr 


13 May 2016

Text-based Collaboration Channels Still on Top

Microsoft's Chat Bot Tay 
It never gets much love, and it's never blessed with the "killer app" label, but text has much to recommend it, which is why Twitter, Facebook Messenger, Gchat, ICQ and Skype for Business are widely used. Computers and people can read it efficiently and easily. Text-to-speech and speech-to-text increasingly allow for bidirectional conversion with speech. Text can be easily annotated and bookmarked. Chat sessions fit smoothly with web content such as tutorials, eLearning modules and FAQs. Chat requires an agent who can type, but beyond that, in its simplest versions, a chat channel requires little additional training.

Future versions will be integrated with intelligent assistants and exhibit more seamless handoffs from software agent to human agent -- and vice versa.

Note: The full story is a white label report that appears on a major telecomm site. For more, see Storyteller.tech

Image credit: Microsoft on Twitter 

03 May 2016

Kaushik's Slow Dance of Click-to-Call and Caller-to-Web

Click to Call and Call to Web: Slow Dance Required (Credit: Cliff at Flickr)
Click to Call and the Reverse: Kaushik's Slow Dance Required

Click-to-Call and Caller-to-Web technologies are increasingly visible within mobile apps, and does appear on some web sites. Increasingly, agile organizations can swing both ways: get web visitors to phone, and get support calls to refer to web resources (including peer to peer social content). 

Some technologies combine the best of voice calling and web sites. Online self-service is now the most common (one hesitates to use the word “popular”) channel for customers, according to a 2015 Forrester report.

Future collaboration tools – all reliant on steadfast Internet connectivity – will increasingly blur the distinction between video, chat, phone and web.

Avinash Kaushik’s “slow dance” strategy may be slow, but it will likely have a greater variety of personalized steps.

Note: The full story is a white label report that appears on a major telecomm site. For more, see Storyteller.tech

Image credit: Cliff | Flickr

28 April 2016

Customer Data Security Tops ISP Survey of Small Business Patrons

Data Security Tops Small Business Patron Concerns

A recent survey of more than 800 patrons of small businesses examined consumer attitudes toward company web sites, use of social media and responsiveness to product and service reviews. While some findings followed intuition -- such as the preference women express for companies which are active on Facebook -- a surprising outcome was about something else altogether.

More than any other factor, customers cited the need for small businesses to protect the privacy of data they hand over. In other words, expectations are high for companies to crunch data to personalize and target, but even higher for that data to be protected. Fully 79% of respondents cited securing their private data as the highest priority for companies they would patronize.

Note: The full story is a white label report that appears on a major telecomm site. For more, see Storyteller.tech

Image credit: Jason Baker (Flickr) 

26 April 2016

Cloud Technology: Helping to Level the Playing Field

Army Corps of Engineers: Wellton Border Control Station Construction 2010

Transborder data flows, video "surveillance" for child care and crowdsourced sales leads were three disparate domains where three small businesses leveraged cloud services. This piece emphasizes the ubiquity of cloud services and how cloud services can help to even the playing field against larger competitors.

I would have preferred to interview the principals, but that option was not available to me.

Image credit: Army Corps of Engineers | Flickr 

11 April 2016

Google Places: Where a Business Can be Found

Photo by Kevin Dooley on Flickr for Story about Google Places | Google My Business by Mark Underwood
Google My Business: Essential for Storefronts and Brands

SNIP This story is about a place that isn’t a place anymore.

Internet giant Google’s initial foray into business listings for search and social media was called Google Places. The idea likely stemmed from a sensible observation: that many businesses offer services to a specific geographical region. That observation is best demonstrated with mobile search. When a hungry smartphone owner is in the vicinity of a restaurant, a search for “pizza restaurant” should, by default, show nearby pizza restaurants, not the headquarters web site for Dominos, Pizza Hut or Little Caesars.

How does this work?  And why, even if there are numerous pizza restaurants nearby, does Google Search only show three restaurants on the search engine results page (SERP)?

Note: The full story is a white label report that appears on a major telecomm site. For more, see Storyteller.tech

Image credit: Kevin Dooley 

04 April 2016

Growing Loyalty for Loyalty Programs among Small Business

Screenshot: VentureBeat Story on FiveStars Capitalization
VentureBeat Report on FiveStars

Are small businesses convinced that loyalty programs can work for them, too?  Apparently the VC firms behind FiveStars believe they are. as FiveStars has been rewarded with a third round of $50 million to support the firm and its 350 employees. 

I look at the general outline for loyalty programs and the benefits and risks for small businesses. 

Note: The full story is a white label report that appears on a major telecomm site. For more, see Storyteller.tech.

30 March 2016

Coupons: Reports of Death Highly Exaggerated

Coupons (Credit: Hobbies on a Budget Flickr)

SNIP: "To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of the death of coupons have been greatly exaggerated. Coupons – and their cousins, discount codes -- can play nicely with digital marketing systems. Evidence suggests that coupons still work for a significant number of people, especially in retail. . .

And paper still rules. Inmar estimates that 2.4 billion paper coupons were redeemed in 2015, but only 62 million of those were digital."

White label story produced by +knowlengr | Storyteller.tech.

22 March 2016

Limits on Advertising Claims in the US? Check with the FTC

"Can they say that?"

You may be wondering whether the seemingly outrageous claims made by a competitor can be made despite their dubious truth value. Maybe not. 

The FTC offers guidelines for small business advertisers, and one aspect should be evident to everyone. Advertising claims that touch on health and safety will receive particular FTC scrutiny. Digital channels mean that content can be created and distributed rapidly, but not that editorial review is as obsolete as billboard ads. 

The FTC's advice:

· “In most cases, ads that make health or safety claims must be supported by "competent and reliable scientific evidence" - tests, studies, or other scientific evidence that has been evaluated by people qualified to review it.” 

14 February 2016

You Surf While They Shear and Shape

home page for Hairstyling by Joseph in Midtown Manhattan
Web Site of Hairstyling by Joseph 
STORY SNIP When the likes of Cicily Tyson, The Shirelles, and The Ronettes visited the East Village storefront of Hairstyling by Joseph in the late1950’s, those luminaries were no different from other salon customers of the day – at least in one respect. They expected a selection of magazines to read while they waited.  

Today HSbJ is the largest black hair care salon on the East Coast.

Today the salon’s magazines are supplemented by on-premises Wi-Fi, because, as VP of Business Affairs Adrienne White explained, 
“. . . If you know anything about black hair care, you would know that our clients spend an average of two hours in the salon. And because we have so many professionals who are serviced, it is imperative that we provide them with the Internet access they desire.  A lot of business is conducted during these client visits!”
Full story by Mark Underwood for Renegade | Time Warner Cable Business Class 

11 January 2016

“I Am Not A Number” – Personalization through Technology

In the 1960’s influential TV series The Prisoner, the protagonist known only as Number Six repeatedly insists, “I am not a number, I am a free man!” 

Customers, partners and employers may not like being referred to as a number either -- yet some small businesses may not be utilizing affordable technologies to avoid inflicting that indignity. Asking a person for a number is an instance of weak personalization, an all too common practice in many settings.