A Mobile App – A gift that keeps on Giving!

No longer hold the belief that building loyalty is through discounting, but rather by building a strong bond between brand and customer.  The connections that customers attach to a brand must also be considered as being added value.  Businesses that have already made their brand mobile and sociable have risen to the top by prioritizing loyalty and by developing emotional connections with their customer.

The customer is the heart of a business, and a good way to increase customer satisfaction is to keep the customers needs central to all business operations, from the top down.  Furthermore, by incorporating current technology to ensure a business provides the customer service that consumers expect, business owners can expect to turn that loyalty into increased revenue and a healthier bottom line.

The most anticipated holiday season of the year is only 30 days away businesses must be prepared to leverage this technology to increase customer retention which will translate into a successful Christmas season!

Here are a few steps you can take to ensure that your Holiday Season is the best one yet!

1.  Content Marketing – Keep it fun and reflective of the season, special promos and themes

2.  Discounted Shipping – Offer special rates for delivery

3.  Social Media – Make regular updates, especially during the holidays when usage is at its peak!

4.  Customer Service – OVER DELIVER!

5.  Support a Local Charity – Tis the season for giving…setup a promotion with a local charity

6.  Appify – Get a gift that keeps on giving – to your customers!  Mobile apps can update customers on current events and offers that your business has, and with features like push notifications, you will have access to your customers 24/7!

Referral Marketing

A loyalty program should keep your hard earned loyal customers YOURS while allowing a business to nurture that relationship unlike many generic programs that share your contacts with other businesses some may even be competitors in the hopes of bringing new customers through the door.  Many business owners are disappointed from the results generated from these types of loyalty programs for the simple reason, its only discounts not engagement and that brings the wrong type of customer through the door…a deal seeker who ultimately hurts a businesses bottom line. Businesses need to shift their way of thinking towards their most valuable asset their loyal customer, since it is their brand advocates that will bring new customers and shop more frequently with you and not a competitors.  A Mass Mobile customization app can create a loyalty program that will build brand affinity by including share-able aspects of your business that are key to the apps success for your business.

Mass Mobile gives business’ the ability to encourage customers to “SHARE” on all social media platforms and gives the customer the opportunity to earn dollars/points for behaviors like sharing on social media. A business can increase their persuasive impact and customers intention to purchase through engagement. Customers are more engaged when the customer finds value in the loyalty rewards offered creating brand affinity. Business’s must connect their loyalty programs to their social media profile since the integration of social media to apps & websites needs to be seamless  in order for customers to share. The value of referral marketing is just as significant as S.E.O  since it drives the number of new customer acquisitions by creating trust and loyalty. A business can connect to more potential customers by simply tapping into the customers circle of friends. By intising customers with an offer that is both exciting and rewarding it will enable a business to capture the attention of its customers to share and download. endorsements by a ‘friend’ are regarded positively since 84% of consumers trust recommendations from their friends. A business must have an effective referral strategy to meet their objectives in a loyalty app strategies may include: 1) share and win, 2) share and save (coupons sweepstakes), 3) give and get, 4) share and charitable donations.

The referral feature on mass mobiles loyalty app is extremely user friendly for easy sharing. Businesses need to encourage the help of its loyal customer to become its marketers through spreading the word to their circle of friends and by sharing the apps content. It is estimated that for every ten referrals a business will gain up to eight new customers from simply using a refer friend marketing program. The results are astounding with a 54% conversion rate since customers trust recommendations from their friends. Referral programs are the simplest way to successfully introduce your business to your customers own personal network of friends. This is a cost effective approach to market your brand by bringing the right customers through your door via loyal customers.

 

 

Are you Really Delivering?

The same rules apply for all businesses, customer service is key to being successful and profitable.  Earning the loyalty and trust of potential customers and keeping it can seem overwhelming.  With competition, many retailers are struggling to keep their doors open.  Small businesses and large chain stores have all been effected.  Some of the retailers that have found great success in the past have dramatically cut back or disappeared altogether.

“There’s a lot of fear how the landscape is changing, there are lots of rumors about who is weak and who will go down next,” retail analyst and former Eaton’s executive Jim Danahy says.

The retail landscape is changing at an alarming rate, along with customer needs and demands.

So now more then ever before a business that wants to be successful must provide the ultimate experience for its customers.  Along with implementing the basic strategies for exceptional customer service (http://visual.ly/25-skills-excellent-customer-service), technologies should be utilized to improve the overall experience, since it is relevant not only to the owner, and employees but also to the customer.

Most customers research on line before purchasing a product, checking out reviews, making product comparisons as well as getting the best price.  However, the customer will still most of the time purchase in store rather than online, because they value the “shopping experience”.  As a result retailers must engage their customers by keeping the lines of communication open, by improving and evolving based on their suggestions  of how to make their shopping experience a positive one.  It is important to encourage suggestions, ideas, and feedback from customers to remain viable in today’s retail world.

Technologies like loyalty apps are crucial, since loyalty and rewards go hand in hand.  Retailers who reward loyal customers for their repeat business , retain more customers than those retailers that don’t.  To keep remaining relevant it is essential to offer something of value as a bonus for choosing your brand over a competitor.   A loyalty app can make the shopping experience for its customer exciting, convenient and rewarding.

PROMOTE, ENGAGE and REWARD

A common mistake made by many retailers is investing too much of their marketing budget on trying to get new customers, rather than investing in the customers they already have.  Companies/brands must first reward their profit makers for being loyal.  A business should differentiate between customers who bring the most value to their business and reward them accordingly.   To drive activity and boost revenue from a business’s loyalty program it needs to incorporate a tiered reward based platform to reward it’s most valuable asset it’s repeat customer. A spend more – earn more strategy  by rewarding VIP customers based on the value that they bring to your business. By offering discounts and special privileges business’ are afforded the opportunity to build closer relationships with their ideal customers.  Rewarding VIP customers in a tiered loyalty program may include:

1) offering  free goods for liking and sharing on social media.

2) discounts and promotions.

3) special buying opportunities(e.g. advanced viewing of new product).

4) offer preferential service terms/ offer special service(e.g.waiving minimum order quantities).

5) offer cost on products that are affiliated with a big regular priced purchase(e.g.purchase of a coat at regular price, offer either hat, scarf or gloves at 50%off retail).

6) reward introductions and referrals (e.g.offer discounts or free gifts for every new customer they introduce to the business.

7) entice customers to spend more then intended (e.g. spend $50 and get double rewards).

It is a mistake to underestimate the a value loyal customers brings to your business, since they are the ones who purchase more frequently and recommend your brand!

Does your loyalty program recognize the benefit of differentiating rewards to reflect the value they bring to your business?

Hackers gonna Hack

This was written by Laura Betterly…i thought it was a good read and good advice!

Websites have always been under attack by nefarious individuals who try and gain control of personal data or the site itself.  This is nothing new, it’s been part of having an online presence since the birth of the Internet.  Hackers make a sport out of looking to find new ways in, and hacker protections always run one step behind, plugging up the holes.

While this may make the steps you can take to protect yourself seem futile, since hackers are gonna hack (it’s what they do), it’s actually worth taking a few minutes to read and implement the suggestions that follow.
If you’re using WordPress, or any open source or flexible framework website software, your risk of being hacked increases.  Here are a few tips to help you preserve your security.

WordPress Security Tips

  1. Select unique user names.  The most common user name for a WordPress site is “admin”.  Why? Because it’s the default suggested when you do a new WordPress install, and most people are too eager to get their site up they assume they will come back and change the user name.  Few do.  Avoid using admin or your name as your WordPress login, it’s far too hackable.
  2. Use a secure password.   The easier a password is for you to remember, the easier it is for a hacker to guess or deduce.  It’s always a good idea to use a long password that contain a combination of upper and lower case characters, numbers and special characters.
  3. Don’t procrastinate on the updates.  It seems like WordPress comes out with an update every couple of weeks.  Be sure to update your WordPress install every time you see that there’s one available.  Most of the wordless updates include security fixes to plug up the back doors and vulnerabilities.
  4. Don’t stop with the WordPress install- update your plugins too.  Update your plugins every time you see a new version come out, and delete old plugins and themes that you aren’t using any longer.  Sometimes plugins from the WordPress repository are designed for older WordPress versions and contain back door security issues.  If you’ve recently updated your WordPress and there hasn’t been a corresponding update to your plugin shortly after, check to see that the plugin is still active and supported.
  5. Beware unscrupulous developers.  Some app developers will sell you a plugin that is really cheap and seems too good to be true.  Many times it is because they either won’t support it going forward or it contains vulnerabilities.  Seems like everyone I know has at one time or another installed a plugin that contained some malware and found out by seeing Google’s big red malware-infected warning when they tried to visit their domain.  Google will take the site offline until you get it fixed.  It’s time consuming, and definitely will hurt your business when visitors can’t access your information.

Why My Hackers didn’t hack me…

I started this article telling you about how I was hacked.  LauraBetterly.com had 247 attempts of someone trying to log in.  But I have a plugin called Wordfence that saved my bacon, (there is a paid and free version).

https://WordPress.org/plugins/wordfence/ (the WordPress repository link)

http://www.wordfence.com/ (their website- not an affiliate link)

With Wordfence someone tries to login after a number of failed attempts (I set it up for three) the plugin blocks their IP address.  In my case the guy persevered for about an hour, changing IPs and trying again until they decided my site was too secure and moved on to an easier target.

The paid version of WordFence scans your website and compares the code with the WordPress repository code, and lets you know by email if someone injects code into your site.  That’s how I learned of my hack attempts.

Hopefully my experiences have helped to increase your awareness about some potential vulnerabilities.  It only take a few minutes to implement secure site practices, and it can save you a few hours, days, or even months of misery at the hacking hands of a bored teenager in his parent’s basement.

I have the survey results for you, I’m working on compiling them and I’ll share them with you soon.  Be on the lookout for this as well as a special invitation for you to join me on vacation next year, coming up next week.

XO,

Laura

P.S. I forgot to mention an added benefit to ensuring that your site is secure against hacking.  When you implement a trust seal from a virus or security company, your sales conversions will increase!

I leave you with this awesome sensationalist news article I found.  If it were written today it might say something like “Hackers can spread ebola through your home computer”! 🙂

5 Reasons why business owners need a mobile app

Why business owners need a mobile app

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Mobile apps are the fastest growing segment in mobile marketing, and will be a driving force for any business to achieve not only sales success but to establish brand loyalty.  All SME’s need to be up to speed with the technological developments, as well as keep pace in the market and MOST IMPORTANTLY be of use to their customers.  It is no longer a question of whether your business will adopt a mobile strategy, but rather when it will happen.  Here are 5 reasons why you should invest in a mobile app:

  1. The very near future is going to be all about mobile

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Estimates are that by 2015 there will be over 2 billion smart phones in use.  Of these users approximately 39% will not even own a laptop or desktop computer.  The only way they will be able to access the World Wide Web, is via their smartphone of tablet.  Pair that information with the fact that 55% of searches on mobile devices result in some form of action, either a visit to an actual bricks and mortar store front, a telephone call, or a purchase, confirms the relevance of mobile devices.  An astute business owner will realize that early adoption is the key, and be at the fore front of the mobile revolution.

  1. Mobile will encourage local shopping

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Small business owners who lean on their local community will need to start thinking of their mobile strategy if they are to stay competitive, and hope to increase their market share.  A recent study done by Pew Internet & American Life Project, has shown that 74% of smartphone owners use location services to find places they plan to visit, such as retail stores, restaurants, and cafes.  Another study conducted in 2013 indicated that 66% of buyers planned to do their Christmas shopping in local and independent stores, and that 68% of them planned on using their mobile devices to assist them with purchases.

 

  1. Mobile payments

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Some merchants have already begun offering mobile payment methods for consumers, and all major processing companies have invested heavily in updating aging hardware to be able to transition to mobile payment systems. Apple, and Android devices are already capable, and it won’t be long before the option of mobile payment will be as prevalent as the traditional plastic credit card.  It is no longer the American Express card that people don’t leave home without – it is the smartphone!

 

  1. Users

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To keep your customers coming back, its time you not only show them you value their business but you prove it as well.  How can you do this with a mobile app? A built in loyalty program will do the trick!  This will not only give your customers further incentive to shop with you, but will also make sure that your app is not something that is downloaded and then deleted shortly after. Studies have shown that applications with any types of rewards are maintained on mobile devices, even if the user no longer uses the app.  Investing in mobile is a good way for business owners to stay competitive and relevant in their respective fields. The future is now!

  1. Speed and all the other virtues

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Today’s consumer does not only want quick and instant service, they expect it.  If a customer cannot get they want out of your website within a few seconds, they are on to the next one, likely your competition. If your business has developed its own smartphone app, your customers will be able to contact you in seconds, and it will be much easier for them to do it this way.  It is services like this that will separate you from your competition!

Click Here to find out more

Marketing Ideas that build your brand

” The product should be it’s own salesman.  Not the product alone but the product plus a mental impression, atmosphere which you place around it.” therefore a business needs to have a solid understanding of their customer and of how to go about building their brand to achieve sustainable profitability. As a result  the job of marketing your business does not end at figuring out who your target audience is, it is just the beginning. After collecting data from these four categories;

A) Demographic ( male,female,income, age)

B) Location (town,city,province,state,global)

C) Interests (clubs,hobbies, affiliates)

D) Life Events (Single, married expecting,retiring)

A business will not only have a solid insight into who exactly their  customer is, but their IDEAL customer ” a person who not only wants to do business with you, but that you want to do business with.” It is important to utilize this information to your advantage when marketing your business that your objectives (increase customer satisfaction,and or increase profitability) are implemented effectively to achieve desired results.  A business owner must  find extremely innovative ways to engage with it’s customer’s by building social communities via social platforms e.g facebook, twitter, instagram, pinterest etc by sharing ideals, photos and by posting regularly in order to remain visible to your customer.  A consistent, relevant communication on these social networks will encourage customers to interact with your business and develop an affinity to your brand.  But the icing on the cake of marketing your business would be a customizable loyalty app tailored to YOUR customers wants & needs.  An app would allow a business owner direct access to its customer 24/7 giving an immense opportunity to interact with your customer in a meaningful way!

It is important that existing and potential customers recognize the value in down loading your app by showcasing the benefits of the program that comes along with being a valued member.  The challenge will be present itself  initially  when trying to acquire the apps first users but it will go much more smoothly by creating a hype and excitement before launching your new loyalty app.  It is important that you know exactly the goals or goals that you want your app to achieve

1) solidify loyalty from existing customers

2) increase sales through engagement

3) keep customers knowledgeable of sales, promotions or events

4) interact with your customers through engagement, similar threads of interest

To help  make the launch of your app successful marketing strategies can be used to further your brand and help reach their target audience and boost downloads

1) add originality to your app, be creative, don’t mimic someone else

2) optimize your app so it is visible

3) have a working website, be active setting up social networks

4) update new versions based on feedback

5) keep an accurate  account of your apps progress

It takes the time and effort of a business  to take the initiative to go the distance, not just to meet but to exceed the customers expectations. The key lays in engaging shoppers throughout the year, across as many social platforms as possible.  Since the wants and needs of the consumer is constantly changing  “Consumers value their time and will change their shopping behaviors based on the technological tools available.” An app from MASS MOBILE APPS will execute your vision and make shopping a social mobile experience for your business… giving  customers a compelling reason to do business with you! [contact-form][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Website’ type=’url’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]

The Mobile Web is Dead, It’s all about Apps!

It is becoming more apparent that the one thing people today don’t leave home without is not their American Express card, but their smartphone.  They aren’t spending the day making calls, so what are they doing?

Data shows that the average user checks their phone about 110 times a day, and throughout the day they are spending 86% of their time in mobile apps.

The accompanying chart from mobile analytics company Flurry shows just how dominant the native app is compared to the mobile web.  The chart shows a 6% growth in mobile app usage compared to a 6% decline in mobile web usage.  More significantly, the read rate of promotional emails is between 5% – 20%, whereas a push notification is read at an astounding rate in excess of 97%.  It’s still too early to predict the course apps will take in 2014, but it’s clear to see that mobile web activity is dwindling and the apps are taking over. Now every company in the world is adjusting to that reality

Amazon doesn’t have to build native apps — Amazon essentially has no competition. So why do they do it? Any why does eBay, and Facebook, and Twitter, and all the others who pour masses of development dollars into apps that no one needs?

Your customers are checking their phones 110 times a day — do you have a mobile app?

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source: http://blog.flurry.com/bid/109749/Apps-Solidify-Leadership-Six-Years-into-the-Mobile-Revolution

 

Mobile Apps will Transform Your Business

A survey conducted, by Daniel Burns with over 700 companies asked them, if they had developed any mobile apps internally to help them with supply chain management, logistics, purchasing or sales and or support.  At this point only approximately 4 percent said yes, which is extremely low considering how many smartphones and mobile devices are on the market today.  The follow up question was even more interesting: ” Do you think that at least half the businesses in your industry will have their own mobile apps for these types of functions within the next 2 years?”  The response was amazing, 100 percent said “YES!”

So what does this mean for your business?  It means that mobile apps designed by business for either internal use, or to gain a competitive advantage will explode over the next 2 years.  Which way is your business leaning?  What are the trends?  A hard trend will happen; a soft trend might happen. The hard trend is that businesses will be developing mobile apps customized for their company for various functions. The soft trend is whether your company will be one of them.

Here’s something else to consider: The number of smart phones and tablets in all sizes of companies has obviously exploded in the last couple of years, and this hard trend is picking up speed.  So with costs decreasing and capabilities increasing, the time to act is now. The question is, “How?”  A mobile app that targets your customers and is able to deliver your marketing message in a way that is unique and current.  A platform your customers will see value in, and an app that they will not only download, but keep on their mobile devices.  What better solution than a custom mobile loyalty app, this addresses both issues.  Your customers will find value in it because they are getting something back in the form of reward dollars of points, and you will have the ability to market to those same customers. Marketing via mobile ensures your message is being seen, any app that is of value will have the ability to send push notifications.  A push notification is basically a text message that is targeted to your customers, and the open rates are astounding…98.7% as compared to 12-20% with emails.

You need to get ready for the mobile business app revolution now. Remember, there are two revolutions taking place: a hardware revolution (where our primary personal computer is shifting to our mobile devices like smart phones and tablets) and a software revolution (which is the mobile apps that will run on those devices). That means the rise of mobile apps for all business functions is a hard trend you can’t ignore.  The companies that transform their business processes using mobility will achieve new levels of success. The time for business process transformation is now.

10 Crucial Questions to ask when optimizing your Company’s website for Mobile Users:

1. My website looks okay on mobile devices now. Is it really worth it just to make it look and feel as slick as possible on smartphones and tablets? 

Yes, without a doubt, says Brian Alvey, “chief scientist” at Ceros, a cloud-based real-time web content authoring platform. Global fashion, auto and retail brands look to Ceros to publish interactive marketing experiences that are designed to “work flawlessly” on all types of devices, and smartphones and tablets are no exception.

“Mobile used to be the future of business,” Alvey says. “Mobile used to be a trend. Now it’s the norm.” The bottom line: If you don’t adapt to mobile and quick, you could miss out on a prime revenue-generating opportunity, or even lose customers to competitors who already embrace mobile.

2. Should I have a dedicated mobile version of my existing website or simply make my existing website responsive to mobile? 
You have two choices. You can either opt for a single website that displays content responsively for different device and browser types, otherwise known as responsive web design. Or you can create a standalone dedicated mobile website separate from your main website. If your main site is www.examplesitehere.com, then your dedicated mobile site would likely appear as m.examplesitehere.com. The .m signifies mobile.

Alvey prefers an all-in-one responsive site. He says he’s heard that Google and Bing prefer them as well.

3. Should I try to mobile-optimize my website myself or delegate it to someone on my staff?  
Particularly for small businesses that are light on resources, it’s best to leave it to the pros. The mobile optimization process is generally too cost-prohibitive, complicated and time-consuming to go in-house.

“Most SMBs can’t justify even a single full-time designer, so in-house isn’t an option,” Alvey says. “Unless you have the time and experience to directly manage freelance designers, I’d hire a company [to do the job].”

4. What are some of the best mobile optimization options available and what do they cost?
Luckily, there are a wide variety of solutions available for every budget. Alvey suggests deciding what you’re willing to spend, then choosing the best available option from there.

Alvey’s favorite mobile services are from popular website hosting companies like WordPress(free hosting, plus premium upgrades), GoDaddy (hosting costs $4.99 to $7.99 per month) andSquareSpace (free 14-day trial, hosting costs $8 to $24 per month). Each offers a broad array of automatically mobile-friendly, attractive prefab website designs, features and themes, plus premium add-ons.

Another is b Mobilized, whose slogan is “mobilize any website… instantly.” This can be a smart option if you simply want to add mobile responsiveness to your existing website. The service’s software mobilizes your site with the click of a button. Pricing is monthly and reasonable at $15.20 per month annually or $19 month-to-month.

5. Should I just hire a contractor? 
Hiring a contract web designer for the job is also an option, though it could cost you more in the end than using an online solution. Alvey says web designer fees are generally charged hourly and vary quite a bit from city to city. If you do go the contractor route, he advises that you hire locally and carefully check customer references before committing.

6. What are some key, must-have mobile site features?
Required mobile features vary, Alvey says. “Obviously, if you don’t have e-commerce, then a shopping cart is useless.” But if you do sell goods online, you should definitely include one in your mobile design. Or, if you own a brick-and-mortar retail business, be sure to prominently display your store address and hours, and perhaps a link to driving directions as well.

Another essential feature all businesses should position front and center is a “click-to-call” phone number. All mobile users have to do is click the number and their smartphone will call you, allowing them to instantly and directly engage with your business.

“Never forget that a customer who is checking out your business on their phone — is holding a phone.”

7. What about social media integration?
Social media integration is like free advertising. It lets users generate a buzz around your brand. In most cases including social elements is a must. For example, on the mobile site for a free online deal-tracking service called Hukkster, first-time users can sign up to use it by entering their Facebook (and Google) credentials. Hukkster’s Facebook integration makes it easier for its users to share their favorite product discounts with their friends on the popular social platform, while simultaneously broadening Hukkster’s marketing reach on Facebook.

Alvey points out that, because they’re so inherently visual, hotels and fashion companies thrive on Instagram and Pinterest, so those particular platforms make sense to integrate into their mobile sites. Whereas Twitter integration is a better fit for airlines and TV shows, which tend to experience high engagement on the microblogging service, he says.

Whichever social platforms you settle on, it’s wise to limit yourself to only two or three social media sharing buttons, not a dozen, Alvey says.

8. What’s the best way to test my mobile site before launch?
Test-driving your site helps you discover and weed out bad links, confusing navigation and a host of other potential functionality issues. Be sure to test yours on as many devices and browsers possible, “not just the ones your team or your CEO uses,” Alvey says.

Interestingly, he also suggests swinging by Best Buy, which he cheekily calls a “free mobile testing lab,” or a similar consumer electronics retailer to check your site out on as many of their sample smartphones and tablets as possible. You’ll get a hands-on feel for what works and what doesn’t — at zero cost.

9. How can I track the success of my mobile strategy? 
The most popular, user-friendly website traffic and usage tracking option available is Google Analytics. The free self-service tool shows you how many people visit your mobile site, from which devices and how often, along with where they live, how they found your site and much more. It also tells you which social channels drive people to your mobile entity and what content they share from it. Use what you learn to fine tune your mobile strategy over time.

10. What are some common mistakes to avoid?
One of the biggest blunders is poorly targeting which devices users will view your content on, Alvey says. “If you send my Android phone to a desktop version (of a website) or my iPad to a smartphone version (of a website), you’ve lost me as a customer.”

Other common mistakes on Alvey’s list of mobile mistakes to skip include: crowded designs with links that are too close together for people’s fingers to accurately click, not optimizing image sizes for mobile bandwidth, making people fill out complicated forms and “harassing me to download your app.”

This blog was taken from:

https://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/advisor/10-questions-ask-optimizing-website-mobile-users-110000724.html