Categories Time Management

American Apparel, A Case Study In Marketing, Quality Management, And Reputation

American Apparel, A Case Study In Marketing, Quality Management, And Reputation
American Apparel, A Case Study In Marketing, Quality Management, And Reputation

Quality management and marketing are intimately related (or should be!) in any business. A large component of quality management is responding to customer feedback and implementation of that feedback in further product improvement and development. Marketing, on the other hand, relies heavily on the reputation of a business and customer perception of that business. It is much easier to pitch a product to a customer who is already satisfied with a related product and has high trust for a company.

Maintaining the sometimes tenuous relationship between marketing and quality management is more important in today’s economy more than ever. Consumers, consumer advocates, and watchdog groups have more power than ever over the “brand” or perception of a company, as the flow of information about companies is much more accessible than before.

The perceived quality of a product is also much more complex than it used to be, and is also no longer separate from the perceived reputation of a company. These days, many customers assume, for instance, that a company’s policies in regards to compliance with industry rules and standards will be reflected in the quality of that company’s products. Take, for instance, the consumer demand for labels that state where a product was made, and the widespread skepticism of products made in countries where the work conditions – and therefore product quality — are perceived as low, and where companies do not have to follow U.S. labor laws.

The reverse also becomes true. Take American Apparel, for example. The apparent decision of the one-time clothing-industry-star early on to act socially responsible initially gave the company good PR and resulted in great business success. In the three years between 2006 and 2009, American Apparel saw the opening of 148 stores, the “fastest retail rollout” in American history, according to a 2009 CBS article on the company, “American Apparel: A Made-in-US success.” The company created a clear correlation between the conscientious practices of a business and the quality of that business’ product….

And it worked.

Everyone, from all the far-flung corners of fashion, was wearing American Apparel.

However, as can be seen by American Apparel’s example in this article written by the Boston Marketing Agency, both quality management and marketing are not a one-time, one-campaign deal in today’s world. According to an interviewee in the LA Times, “American Apparel Reports Loss, Sales Decline in 2010,” some people began to “think twice,” before buying from a company whose goody-two-shoes reputation was undercut by “grubby” overly-sexual advertisements and whose owner, Dov Charney, is known for indulging in unapologetic lasciviousness and unethical behavior.

As the spectacular rise and fall of American Apparel shows, the perceived quality and attractiveness of a company’s products depend heavily on marketing and reputation, especially in a modern world of widespread access to information and public evaluation via social media platforms.

Categories General Business Issues

Getting Personal With Search

Google and other search engines, in their neverending quest to offer up more relevant results to searchers, are moving toward “personalized” search. This has profound implications for those trying to optimize websites, but is not fully understood by many webmasters and site owners.

In a nutshell, when users are logged in to their Google accounts, Google will — over time — “learn” what sorts of pages those users generally click on, and attempt to show them more of those kinds of pages.

So what does this mean to you, the site owner or webmaster?

Basically, it means soon you may no longer be able to use “rankings” as a measure of site success — since every searcher may potentially see different rankings from what you see (or what your rank checking program reports). In other words, just because you see your site at #1, this won’t necessarily mean that anyone else sees it there.

So what can you use to measure site success?

The same things as have always been the true measure of site success for those in the know — traffic, and perhaps more importantly, conversions (as in, leads generated or sales made).

Categories Internet Marketing

5 Quick Tips For Covering Your Online Trail

5 Quick Tips For Covering Your Online Trail
5 Quick Tips For Covering Your Online Trail

When was the last time someone hacked into one of your online social media profiles? Your e-mail? A different online account? It’s not uncommon for search engines to take information from people and use it to build a profile of its users. For example, all it would take is an email address or account with a particular website and *POOF*! Suddenly, you’re being monitored. However, while some of it is harmless, there are other people out there who will use the information that they find out about you to do bad things (i.e. hack into your profiles, etc.). To this end, the following are a few quick tips for protecting yourself while surfing the web:

  1. Automatic Logins- Although they can be incredibly convenient, it’s probably for the best if you leave this box unchecked the next time a website prompts you to “remember you” for the next time you login. If anything, give your brain a little exercise by trying to remember your own password without the computer’s help.
  2. History- Always make sure to clear your history of the sites that you’ve visited at the end of each day. Doing so will help prevent others from seeing what sites you were on.
  3. IP Address- Your IP address is like a personal stamp telling others who you are. If you’re really concerned about someone tracking your online trails, you can always invest in software to help prevent this from happening. Software such as Mask My IP (MMIP), or Anonymous IP may help.
  4. Cookies- Everyone loves cookies; but when it comes to the Internet, cookies can be a bad thing as they often allow websites and/or marketers to create a profile of you based on the information you have provided and your browsing patterns. Therefore, you’ll want to make sure that when you clear your history, you also clear your cookies as well.
  5. Auto Complete– Again, this is a really helpful tool (especially when you can’t remember the full name of something you’re looking up). However, when you have auto complete as well as automatically saved logins, then you have a recipe for disaster. Make sure you change the settings on your computer to turn this feature off!
Categories Internet Marketing

Avoiding The Top 2 Email Marketing Mistakes

Avoiding The Top 2 Email Marketing Mistakes
Avoiding The Top 2 Email Marketing Mistakes

Because email marketing can be a great way to get potential consumers to visit your website and purchase your products or services, knowing how to use email marketing as a main marketing technique the right way is to the advantage of every business owner and operator. Contrary to some business owners’ beliefs, email marketing really does work, and it will work even in an industry saturated with similar marketing and promotional materials as long as you do not make these two very big mistakes.

The following are the two biggest mistakes made in email marketing campaigns:

Distribution List Myth: Sending personal email is one thing, but sending advertisements and promotional materials is another entirely. For this, you need the email recipient’s explicit permission to do so before you send the email because of ICANN anti spam laws. These laws state that recipients of marketing, advertising and other promotional materials either must have requested that specific email, or otherwise agreed to receive promotional materials of any kind.

Thinking that sending email marketing to someone is OK simply because that someone already appears in your personal contact list is wrong. Very, very wrong, in fact, and doing so can get you a government fine and reprimand, get you banned from just about everywhere and can ruin your personal and business reputation. The best thing to do to prevent any of this from happening is to learn the correct way to conduct an email marketing campaign. Anyone can learn about email regulations from the ICANN website, or by reading into the FAQs on their email provider’s website as well.

Generic Email Myth: Using a generic email template might make your campaign easier to manage and less time consuming, and you might have a recommendation from someone on which templates to use. The problem is that generic email templates show your customers you do not care; a thought that can destroy a business quickly and using them lessens the chances the recipient will even open the email.

Generic, non-personalized email marketing templates oftentimes contain duplicated materials, boring content and boring subject lines that do not fit your business’ style. Recipients typically ignore these types of emails or delete them the minute they hit their inbox, simply because they were boring or annoying.

You can combat this by spending quality time writing your email marketing materials and by learning everything that you can about writing a great attention grabbing email. Yes it is time consuming, but well worth it to ramp up sales and subscribers. If you really do not have the time to write yourself, hiring a writer with email marketing experience is a good idea. This way you not only you save time, but you receive professionally written emails that look like they took days to write.

Unfortunately, many small business owners do not realize they are making these mistakes, or have difficulty with email marketing techniques that work, which has led to a great many businesses and business owners being labeled spammers or worse yet, frauds. The effect that email marketing can have on your business’ conversions and ROI is worth the time it takes to learn correct email marketing techniques and the regulations of the road. Not learning them can destroy you, your business, and its reputation, but the choice is ultimately yours in the end so make sure you make the right one and avoid these two big mistakes.

Categories Internet Marketing

Four Customer Retention Tips For Ecommerce Websites

Four Customer Retention Tips For Ecommerce Websites
Four Customer Retention Tips For Ecommerce Websites

These days, many business owners have become interested in improving their customer retention rates. This goal makes sense given that research shows improving customer retention rates by a mere 5% can boost profits from 25% to 95%.

Moreover, the average value for lost customers is $243.

If you’re looking for strategies that can help optimize your retention rates, you should know that focusing in on your company website is always a good idea.

With that idea in mind, consider using the following four customer retention tips for eCommerce websites:

  1. Personalization.

Personalization is the process of creating customized services for customers based on their preferences and previous consumer behavior. Personalization is a highly effective customer retention strategy because it optimizes shopping experiences while showing the client that you are truly interested in her or his well-being.

There are several ways to get the personalization process started, and one of them is by collecting information about the client.

You can then use this information to tailor promotions and make recommendations based on the individual’s needs. For example, you can carefully analyze a consumer’s purchasing behavior and then suggest new products in light of their shopping past.

There are online tools you can use to make your website “smart” such that it automatically shows consumers these types of relevant offers.

You can hire a digital marketing agency to do implement these changes and help you improve revenue with personalization.

  1. Loyalty Programs.

Using loyalty programs is another wonderful way to optimize customer retention.

These programs provide customers with points each time they make a purchase in your online store.

When you provide your customers with this added value, it makes it more impractical for them to select a competitor when it’s time for them to buy the goods and/or services they need. Because of the switching cost created by the implementation of a loyal program, their existence within your eCommerce campaign can give your retention rates a big boost.

  1. Optimize Your Social Media Campaign.

Another great strategy you can employ to accelerate and optimize the customer retention process is the enhancement of your social media campaign.

There are many ways that you can get this process underway, such as by the inclusion of Share Buttons on your website.

These buttons enable your existing customers to forward your content to other people in their social networks through channels like Google+, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

This strategy is an effective way to increase customer retention because it gets people more involved with your brand. The more interactive your brand is, the more likely they are to remain loyal to it.

Another way you can use social media to increase your customer retention rates is with the implementation of contests.

Like Share Buttons, contests are an effective customer retention strategy because they get people involved with your brand.

You can announce a contest with a promotional brand through your website and encourage your audience to forward information about it through Twitter and Facebook.

In addition to increasing the likelihood of retention, this strategy can help you gain new clients.

  1. Support Systems.

One of the primary reasons that companies lose clients results from poor customer service.

Since this is the case, it is important for you to implement support systems that enable your customers to quickly access the information and advice needed to resolve any problems they have when navigating through your website, making a purchase, or seeking technical support.

There are a wide range of tools and products your company can use to realize this objective.

Some of them include help desk software such as Freshdesk or Zendesk. You can also utilize live chat software like Zopim or Olark.

These support systems enable you to resolve customer conflicts and issues with excellence and expedience.

An added benefit of support systems is that they enable the customer to attain a one-on-one experience, thereby providing them with the detailed attention and personalization that makes them feel that they are a valued customer.

Don’t Delay: Optimize Your Customer Retention Process Today!

If you’re serious about making your company as successful as possible, now is the time to focus on optimizing your customer retention strategy.

One of the smartest, savviest ways to realize this objective is by optimizing your eCommerce website to promote interaction and a positive shopping experience for your customer.

You can use some or all of the customer retention tips and tricks outlined above to make this happen.

Good luck!

Categories Internet Marketing

3 Questions Every Webmaster Should Ask Themselves

3 Questions Every Webmaster Should Ask Themselves
3 Questions Every Webmaster Should Ask Themselves
  1. Where do your eyes first travel when you land on your website? Pretend that each of your visitors has a short attention span (because this is often the reality). Using this information, you need to make sure that your website draws in your readers with some sort of hook….immediately. Statistics show that it only takes a mere matter of seconds (sometimes less) for someone to land on a website and jump immediately to a different one. Things that factor in heavily at the outset? WEB DESIGN (including color scheme, white space, text font choice and use of images).
  2. What is this website about? If it takes you longer than a couple of seconds to figure out what the website is about, then that is simply too long. Visitors should know right away what product/service you are trying to sell and the general point you are trying to make. If there is too much going on on the website or too many distractions, then the only thing you’re guaranteed at that point is NOT being able to garner an business prospects.
  3. Is the important information “above the fold?” In print media, major information is usually put above where the newspaper folds over. In the web world, most people who visit a website want to know the general details without having to do a lot of “digging” in order to find it. The idea here is that you, the webmaster, provide the consumer with a couple of catchy headlines or basic information that will draw them in and make them interested in reading the rest of what you have to say.

What other sorts of questions can you think of that would help to create better, more functional websites and blogs for readers? We’d love to hear your feedback in the comments section!

Categories Internet Marketing

How Online Pr Affects Your Sales

How Online Pr Affects Your Sales
How Online Pr Affects Your Sales

Modern organizations enjoy a wealth of options for marketing their products and services and spreading their brand message. These marketing opportunities include:

  • Encouraging word of mouth among your clients.
  • Buying ad space in periodicals including newspapers and magazines.
  • Purchasing ad space in media programs such as radio and television shows.
  • Utilizing the many marketing channels found online.

Which of these marketing opportunities is right for your business?

Plugging In

If you’re like most businesses, the best modern marketing opportunities all lie online. There are a few reasons why online advertising trumps all other forms of traditional advertising:

  • Online advertising is fast. You can create a marketing campaign in a couple minutes and immediately begin to expose potential customers to your message.
  • Online advertising is highly targeted. When advertising online you’re able to only share your message with the niche most likely to actually demonstrate interest in it.
  • Online advertising removes barriers to buying. If someone reads your advertisement in the newspaper or sees your ad on the TV they will need to look for your product in the store or call a toll free number to make a purchase. When someone sees your advertisement online all they need to do is click on a link to enter a carefully crafter buying opportunity.
  • Online advertising is measurable. It’s difficult to know the precise impact a traditional advertisement has on your bottom line. Online advertising allows you to see the precise conversion rate of each brand message you post.
  • Online advertising is easy to improve. Because of the sheer volume of data produced by online advertising opportunities, you will be able to test slight variations on each of your brand messages to see what works best, allowing a constant state of improvement.
  • Online advertising is cheap. No form of traditional advertising allows you to reliably drive qualified traffic to your website or landing page for pennies.

What Types of Messages Can I Spread Through Online PR?

When building your online marketing message you can take advantage of many forms for sharing relevant news, including the following:

  • News about the development of release of a new product or service a specific niche will find valuable.
  • A press release or a media release providing an in-depth explanation of what value your business provides and who it provides that value for.
  • A synopsis detailing a recent news story or other media hit related to your business, the work it does, a product or service it offers, or a public service it performs.

The internet provides multiple avenues for spreading any of these messages. Online channels for sending press releases to massive numbers of journalists all in one batch are plentiful and inexpensive. Social media websites give you the opportunity to speak your truth in innovative ways, such as through podcasts or viral-oriented videos. Social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter give you the ability to build deep, personal relationships with your customers and fans, while simultaneously giving those fans the ability to share your message with their personal contacts. Pay-per-click advertising funnels, such as Google Adwords, allow you to send your ad message to those precisely targeted individuals who are most likely to actually take advantage of your offer.

In fact, any marketing message you would send through a traditional advertising channel can be spread faster, easier, cheaper, and more effectively thought online PR. A successfully executed online PR campaign will both improve public perception of your business and increase sales of your products and services. Even if your business is currently successful, it will benefit from taking advantage of online PR.

Categories Internet Marketing

7 Online Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2020

7 Online Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2020
7 Online Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2020

Planning in a changing and in the online marketing sector is crucial and we must try as far as possible go a few steps ahead. Stay behind in this race background can leave you without a chance of winning.

1. The mobile optimization is becoming a necessity

The optimization for mobile devices has been a fact for companies during this 2019 however, in the future, have a responsive web design will not be enough. The year 2020 will mark the beginning of mobile strategies focused on the optimized content and social media marketing for these devices fully thinking.

Google has already put us on alert this year to warn that the mobile usability is already a factor in the outcome of Word Search to. This reality is confirmed by the new mobile usability tool Google Webmaster Tools.

2020 will be the year of the strategies focused specifically on mobile devices.

Therefore it will be easy to see that in the next 2020 many companies begin to work its digital strategy putting the focus on mobile devices. Websites with responsive design fully tailored, targeted mobile advertising and even generated content specifically for mobile users.

It is a fact that the behavior of a mobile user and the way they interact differs in certain aspects of the Internet user type to which we are accustomed. Hence many companies valued having a social strategy moving average.

2. Marketing content to a higher level

If the phones begin to be the focus of the strategies online content marketing is a really large. That is why in 2020 we will see the importance of generating content is greater than ever.

However, this also poses a new challenge of great significance: How to emphasize the marketing of content when everyone is doing it? That’s where the difference is marked, quality, originality and value of content generated decanted the balance.

To win this battle, the video content will be one of your strongest allies. Linked to the previous point, the visual content is the most effective mobile devices. What about the text? Too, but in a shorter and faster consumer format, hence the importance of thinking generates exclusive content for these devices.

3. Inbound Marketing to rule them all

The Inbound Marketing is a strategy that is based on three pillars: content, SEO and social networks.

Content marketing is the new SEO

Perhaps in the past three disciplines mentioned they coexisted somewhat independently but related bonds that are becoming stronger and make the line between them is increasingly blurred.

Content marketing is now one of the main factors of search engine visibility .Companies that do not have a strategy in this area. You will hardly made profitable investments in SEO. This makes the pure and simple SEO has been relegated to more technical aspects such as indexing, penalties, keyword research, upload speed …

On the other hand, they make their social media speaker function. The amplifier must any content strategy. If it is important to create quality content, so is its promotion and distribution.

4. Online advertising as a profitable investment

Although the online advertising is seated there are still many companies, especially SMEs, who see it as a great expense rather than a great investment. During this year we have seen how Facebook beat records of advertising revenue. It is not surprising that the organic range of pages on Facebook has fallen, and that means a greater increase in ad spending to keep traffic and sales from these channels.

It is a fact that companies that invest seriously by online advertising are positive results with increased visibility and traffic. Facebook Ads and joined Google Adwords as a very interesting option.

Now it is the turn to other actors such as Twitter that still needs to improve its system. The key to success is paying Milestone, which will stimulate investment in small and medium enterprises. Paying for managed email or downloading a simpler implementation would calculate profitability (ROI) of such shares advertising.

5. The new approach to email marketing

Building a database of potential customers that exploit the work generated by the other strategies are and will remain fundamental. The email marketing is entering a new dimension where differentiation with other competitors is vital.

Email marketing remains a powerful weapon sale, however, studies have shown a lower percentage of users who buy directly to receive an email as described in this report HubSpot .

Lost effective email marketing? What happens is it necessary to establish new creative strategies based on relationships via e instead of using this tool as a simple way to make a quick sale.

6. Promotional Advertising fewer and more relevant

Although banner advertising is still a way to gain brand visibility your click through rate it has declined substantially in recent years. This does not make it an interesting resource especially for small and medium businesses that see great difficulties in measuring the ROI of such actions.

Instead, the relationship between publishers and brands becomes more necessary than ever looking for the best way to encompass the promotion of a brand within the content of value to users .

A sponsored post should offer quality and useful information to the user so that it fits perfectly between the remaining contents. Only then, the reader will perceive the mark as a real alternative that gives benefits and puts solution to your needs.

7. Humanization of Brands

Social networks have become a new form of communication where users do not converse with corporate brands using jargon, but with people. Brands that are able to connect with their audience on a more human level enjoy higher conversion rates, greater loyalty with more satisfied customers and therefore with a faster growth of the brand.

Success in social media has determined by the ability of a company to humanize its brand. Companies that engage and develop relationships with their fans, followers and subscribers are those who get real benefits.

Categories Internet Marketing

What Sets Internet Marketers Apart?

What Sets Internet Marketers Apart?
What Sets Internet Marketers Apart?

I had been spending some time on Twitter recently when it struck me how many “Internet marketing experts” there were out there.  I couldn’t help but wonder, “Since when did Internet marketing become the new college major?”  With so many people all vying for each other’s attention and business, it is often difficult to tell one marketer from another.  To further prove my thinking, I spent some time going around and visiting some Internet marketing blogs.  The messages all seemed to be the same:

  • Brand yourself
  • Network with others via Social Media
  • Study SEO and know your keywords to get better ratings in Google

What Sets Internet Marketers Apart?

Sometimes Internet marketing can feel like being pushed into a crowded room in which everyone is talking about the same thing in only very slightly different ways.  At the end of the day, everyone’s trying to make a few bucks based on what they know and are able to successfully convey to whoever will buy it.  So, what sets the great marketers apart from the rest of the crowd?  I’ve been able to make a few observations on this subject:

  1. Quality; Not Quantity:  There are some people that you will see on every single social networking site available.  They’ll tend to have a fairly decent following, but at the end of the day what does their site look like? Is the quality of what they have to say really worth it?
  2. Quality Time: How often do you set aside time to actually read (not skim) other people’s blogs?  What about the few readers or people that you have on  your own blog who leave comments?  Do you write back to them or respond on their blogs?
  3. Quality Site: You should think of your website or blog as you would your home.  Would you want to invite people over if it was a mess?  Keeping that in mind, the layout of your site should be friendly, clean and highly navigable.  A lot of people will go crazy with banner ads, etc. and while that may be a source of revenue- you need to keep your readers in mind and know that that might turn some of them off to what you have to say.

What do you think?  In your opinion, what sets Internet marketers apart?

Categories Internet Marketing

What Color Is Your Website? Accesscolor Can Help

What Color Is Your Website? Accesscolor Can Help
What Color Is Your Website? Accesscolor Can Help

When you visit someone’s website or webpage, do you know that it’s bad right away?  One way to tell this is by the color choices and schemes.  One of the top mistakes that newbies make when it comes to web design has to do with the color contrast.

My Computer Doesn’t Look Like Yours

Because we all work from different computers that have different color settings on it, what may look like pink to one person may look like red to another.  When you are choosing a design layout for your website, you really need to be conscious of the colors that you’re throwing together.  If the colors don’t gel together well, it can cause readability problems not to mention turn of possible readers from your site.

Take a look at the picture to the right.  Which one of the PayPal logos is easiest to decipher?  Not all of us are born web designers.  This why there are so many programs available now such as AccessColor.  AccessColor is an online tool which tests the color contrast and color brightness between the foreground and background in order to make sure that the contrast is high enough for people with visual impairments.

Why is Contrast Such a Big Deal?

Color contrast is extremely important because it determines how long someone will stay on your webpage.  It affects one’s ability to read and comprehend information. According to one website,

Low contrast is mostly a text issue – If you have colors that are too subtle next to each other, then it will be hard to read, or impossible for some people….If you are using colors that you are not sure of, test them on more than one monitor – different monitors display colors slightly differently, and you can end up with something being readable on one, borderline on another, and just a bit hard to read on still another. Try a flat panel monitor, and a CRT monitor, and try different manufacturers. A Mac and a PC is another good option.