On-line Marketing Plan as Part of Marketing Strategy

Opportunities are lost due to limiting on-line marketing strategy plans to simply one-way communication vehicles.

Marketing plans are most effective when you’ve fully integrated traditional marketing such as phone, direct-mail or face-to-face selling with online channels and are used to support the whole buying process from pre-sale to sale to post-sale. Add to the mix the continued development of customer relationships and you create a symbiotic process that increases leads and revenue.

And while the on-line marketing part of the plan can span right across an organization’s many functions such as customer feedback, customer service, product development, sales, finance/payment, delivery and administration, on-line marketing plans tend to be looked at strongly as mainly marketing communications plans, to the detriment of what more it can offer the company. Opportunities are lost due to limiting on-line marketing plans to simply one-way communication vehicles.

The reality is that any on-line marketing plan needs to be a part of a broader marketing plan. And it should also fit in with the overall business plan. It should be an integral part of the company’s overall strategy to bring in leads as well as information.

7 ways to handle negative responses

I recently had a former customer call me up on the phone. He was asking me to help him with removing a negative comment that was posted on his listing in Google local directories. He thought it would go away if we took his website down.

It should become apparent as to why we no longer do  business with this guy.

See, rather than deal with the complaint on its merits, he wants to ignore it. He claims the complainer is being unreasonable. The complainer felt he was being taken for a ride by my former customer. I wasn’t really disagreeing with the complainer (by the way, I’m not the complainer), which is why we no longer have this guy as a customer.

So I thought I would discuss the 7 ways we recommend to our good customers how you should look at handling complaints:

1. Never fear the complainer – Complaints are an opportunity for you to show your community how you handle adversity. Avoiding it says as much about you as does confronting it.

2. Be totally honest – admit fault, within reason, even if it isn’t your fault. If one of my customers complains I didn’t perform as they expected, even though what they’re complaining about isn’t in the scope of the project, as long as it’s reasonable I will take responsibility for the misunderstanding and work to correct the problem. I will not bury my head in the sand and hope it goes away.

3. Respond back in the medium where the complaint originated – If the complaint is from Twitter, don’t respond back in LinkedIn. Keep it within the medium received. Responding back in a different medium makes it look like your avoiding the issue.

4. Use the complaint as feedback from your customers – If your widget has a problem you will usually receive that information in the form of a complaint. Use it to fix the problem and show the world how you did it.

5. Listen – Many times when a customer is complaining all they want is to be heard. It’s as simple as that.

I had a customer of a customer many years ago who called complaining that a battery pack her son used in his hobby race car had exploded while being recharged. Back in those days it usually took twelve hours to recharge a battery pack. The kids would buy 2-3 battery packs so that they could race for hours. They also used to try to recharge the packs very quickly, literally zapping the daylights out of them. The problem was that NiCad batteries are a notoriuosly greedy substance. The battery doesn’t know when to quit taking a charge like SLA batteries do. There is a lot of heat created while charging which builds pressure inside the battery. So, once in a while a battery being charged too fast will build enough pressure to pop its top.

Scares the hell out of you.

It scared this Mom’s kid, which of course upset her. The sales person who took the call was having trouble getting her to be reasonable and so I took over. I asked her what the problem was and she proceeded to yell and scream about what had happened. When she appeared to be running out of steam, I asked her if there was anything else that concerned her and she proceeded on for another 10 minutes. I asked her one more time if there was anything else she wanted to tell me and she went on again, but only for a minute.

I then apologized to her for the incident. I asked her a few questions and I discovered that her son, when zapping the daylights out of the battery, didn’t use dry ice to keep the battery from overheating. He couldn’t afford dry ice so he tried the not so good alternative, ice cubes. She wasn’t too happy with her son when he admitted to what he was doing. You can’t really fault him since many of the other boys were recharging the batteries and he just wanted to do the same. The charging instructions that come with the batteries are usually tossed aside rendering them useless. So, I told this mom I would send her 3 battery packs for free along with a detailed set of instructions on how to properly charge them.

Total cost to us was $75.00. But we gained a customer for life because I took the time to listen.

6. Follow up – Never assume the problem is totally resolved, always follow-up. This will reinforce in the customers mind that you really are listening.

7. Make sure you share these experience with your audience – Don’t be afraid to share the real you. Your audience will love you for it.

Confusing Internet

Many small to medium size companies find the Internet to be a very confusing place.

My friend Tom was recently lamenting:

  • How come I’m not getting traffic to my web site?
  • What is this Social Media thing all about?
  • Will it last? I’m told I should have a website.
  • I’m told I should be on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube…aahhh.
  • Too much to decide on, too much time involved figuring it all out.
  • How is it that some people seem to be all over the Internet and I can’t even get off square one?

Like anything out there worth doing, the Internet takes a lot of hard work, which means a lot of time. And time is something many of us have very little of to start with. So to put more time into something that has a really steep learning curve and doesn’t seem to produce results makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, right?

Tom continued to think out loud:

But gee whiz, look at Charlie, the Butcher across the street. I’ve never seen him so filled up with customers. The wife said she saw a coupon he had put onto this thing called Facebook. All of her girlfriends are raving about it. She used that new smart phone I got her last Christmas to scan something called a QR code, whatever that is.

But I just had the website redone last year and it cost me a bundle. I’m still not getting any leads from it.

Come to think about it, that damn phone book ad isn’t producing butkus. And it costs hundreds per quarter for it, tried to cancel it months ago but I couldn’t figure out how to do it.

Sure wish there was someone out there who understood business and could help me develop a marketing strategy that would make sense, remove the confusion and make it productive.

Well there is, Tom. Call me at Yellowbird Marketing Solutions and I’ll help you figure it all. We can help you develop a package that will fit your budget and produce results. I’ll even show you how to cancel that phone book ad that does nothing but frustrate you.

You can find me at:

Privacy when on-line

Have there been violations of the privacy trust as stated by Facebook. Yep, most likely. While I don’t like it, it’s better I’m aware of the possibility. So, as in many cases, it’s buyer beware. If you don’t want others to know than use these tools wisely. Think before you click.

I found the new bill before Congress, “Do not track act” introduced in the House of Representatives on Friday by California Democrat Jackie Speier, to be an interesting exercise in government interference . While I firmly believe the government should be setting the rules in many areas, Wall Street comes to mind, I think it is unnecessary on the Internet (except to keep it free and open from the big wigs).

The intent of the bill is to create a system similar to the do not call lists. The do-not-call lists for telephones were needed due to the abuse generated by the telesales companies calling people at all hours, especially during dinner. Products were being developed, like caller ID, to deal with these unwanted calls. But these products had limited success.

But I think the difference when it comes to the Internet is pretty obvious.

I don’t have to look at the ads in the right hand column when I Google for information.

I can ignore the ads that appear in Facebook. I can tell Facebook not to share personal information such as name, numbers, address, etc.

Or better yet, just simply leave them out all together.

As a business I run PPC ads in Google and Facebook upon occasion. I pay for “Keywords” used by those doing the searching or who are using Facebook. My goal is to have my ad appear when someone uses the keywords I bid on. The user, by using the keywords of choice, is expressing an interest in the subject. And since there is no cost to the user to use Google or Facebook, ads is what you get in order to support this free service. Very much like TV used to be…Yes Virginia, TV used to be free.

I don’t get to, nor do I want to, know who you are. Nothing personal, I just want my ad to appear on the right side column when you express an interest in the subject. I just want my services to appear before those interested. Nothing more, nothing less.

Have there been violations of the privacy trust as stated by Facebook. Yep, most likely. While I don’t like it, it’s better I’m aware of the possibility. So, as in many cases, it’s buyer beware. If you don’t want others to know than use these tools wisely. Think before you click.

Hello world!

Making the Internet work for you.

Rich Garling
Rich Garling

Just a short piece on me…after all it is my blog. I own a small marketing firm, Yellowbird Marketing Solutions , located in the Chicagoland area. With Mike, my business partner, we specialize in integrated marketing strategies concentrating in Internet marketing for small to medium size businesses. Our goal is to ensure that small businesses get off on the right foot when first entering the Internet marketplace.

We have seen many examples out there of companies that have a really pretty web site, but because they didn’t pay attention to their message, didn’t use SEO, have no other presence on the web to speak of, they get no traffic. They’re frustrated because there is soooo much to know. All these small business owners want to do is to run their businesses.

The aim of this blog is to offer advice, ideas and solutions on how to make the Internet work better for all of us. I invite folks to join the discussion, respond and engage in the conversation so we can learn together and make the Internet work for all of us.