It strikes back Publicize your promotions inexpensively with Mpire

Posted by tom klein November 1, 2007 at 2:30 am

While price promotions can be the dangerous third rail of marketing, they can be enormously useful for so many things – inducing trial of a new product, filling the cupboard before your competitor launches a product, or maybe just getting rid of stuff that you produced just too much of.

Now you can publicize your promotions to web buyers with Mpire. It’s a shopping search engine that also pulls together promotions from across the web into one simple site. For example, if you’re looking to buy a HDTV and want to see who might be holding a promotion, this is the place. A consumer can simply enter HDTV as a search term and see what special deals are available from across the web. If you’re having a special promotion for anything, here’s a free way to publicize it and drive traffic to your site.

Just choose post a deal and add the information about your promotion. There – now you can take the rest of the day off as Mpire’s users can find your special deal and drive sales.

Mpire brings a lot more to the table. If you search under the “shop” section for an HDTV, it will show you the prices on a wide array of different brands and even help you understand the pricing trend. Everyone wants to know if they should buy now or later.

Don’t underestimate the power of promotion to keep your users interested and engaged in your business. While it’s important to avoid training your buyers to expect promotions, don’t hesitate to wield them to keep things interesting and to keep your customers coming back to you.


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  You're so money Enable receipt of mobile payments with PayPal

Posted by tom klein October 29, 2007 at 2:30 am

While there’s much talk about mobile payments, you would think that the only thing available is a faster way to charge a credit card – not really move money from buyer to seller.

That’s just not true. You can make real payments using your mobile phone and PayPal mobile. Now you can send a text message payment just as easily as an email payment, opening up the opportunity for buying and selling wherever you are. If you don’t already have one, get yourself set up with a PayPal account. Then, select a phone number to activate. The system will call you and ask you to enter your PIN. There, it’s done. Now you can send payments to any email or phone number from your phone (and in just about any currency). You can even do handy things like checking your balance.

Doesn’t this make you wonder why your bank doesn’t offer this kind of service?

Remember – the easier you make it for your customers to buy – the more likely they actually will. Are you making it easy to collect money from your customers?

This mobile system works in both directions. You can send a text message request for payment (an invoice - example: get 5 from 4085552388). It can be a handy way to remind people that payment is due and, importantly, make sure you get paid.

Nearly every person who walks into your store, onto your used car lot, or through the front door of your office carries a mobile phone. If you’re not currently tracking your customers closely, this method will let you not only speed receipt of payment, it will also give you a remarkably valuable piece of information - your customer’s phone number!


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  Mellow yellow Increase sales with text-based takeout tool GoMobo

Posted by tom klein October 18, 2007 at 2:30 am

Despite the fact that nearly everyone over age 10 has both a credit card and a cell phone, most retailers still require you to show up, find what you want, pay, and then leave.

Time to evolve, using the web-based system called GoMobo. Here’s how it works: 1) Your customer (who has configured an account) sends you a text message order, 2) You receive that order either on a PC or by fax (what is that?), 3), Customer picks up the order (no waiting in line), and 4) GoMobo deposits payment directly into your account. While this service has focused on making fast food even faster (users include Dunkin’ Donuts, Papa John’s, Popeyes, Quiznos, and Subway) – there’s a lesson here for nearly every business.

If you make it easy for your customers to re-order and, even better, help them save time and eliminate hassle … they are likely to buy more from you. Are you still making people wait in line?

This system works because someone can place an order and pay with ONE simple text message (including a special code). Users indicate their preference in an online profile beforehand, so there’s no need to scroll through or try to remember a complicated set of options.

Think about how you might use this system or just the philosophy behind it to let your customers enjoy the real world equivalent of “one-click” purchasing. You can test this approach with almost no effort to fine tune and learn what drives incremental sales.


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  I'd gladly pay you Tuesday Enable subscriptions for anything with Paypal

Posted by tom klein October 12, 2007 at 2:30 am

Loyalty seems to be the exclusive domain of man’s best friend, not customers. There are so many advertisements, so many temptations. Then there’s the natural inclination for customers to be a bit … promiscuous. What are you to do?

Why not let them subscribe to your product or service using Paypal’s subscription and recurring payments service? As you’ll see in this demo, all you need to do is define the parameters of your subscription (provide a name, a duration, and a billing cycle), choose or create your own customer subscription button, then publish it on your site. This system will take care of everything else: Accept credit card or bank account payments, and then maintain detailed transaction records of every subscription.

Here’s your chance to get creative about how you might use subscriptions. While of course traditional subscriptions are helpful for publications, don’t forget that you can subscribe to products (how about a toothbrush subscription … ) just as easily as you can subscribe to services (landscaping, cleaning, even … search marketing). Don’t you need to work harder to keep your customers in the fold?

For graduate school credit, PayPal also lets you create a customized button, generate key attributes dynamically, based on specific input from your customer (e.g. duration of subscription), and of course make it match the look and feel of your site.

It’s so easy to get trapped in that terrible cycle of investing to acquire customers and then watching them all leave out the back door in short order. Even if you can’t get your customers to subscribe to a for-pay service, you should consider using a blog, RSS feed, or email newsletter to keep the fires of interest (and buying) alive.


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  Swim with the piranhas Create a targeted e-commerce micro-site with Amazon webstore

Posted by tom klein October 10, 2007 at 2:30 am

Sales on the Internet are expected to reach $116 billion this year, or 5 percent of all retail sales. With so many products being sold on the web, and so many stores, it can be hard to really stand out in the crowd.

One potential way is to use Amazon’s webstore to create a micro-site to sell your unique products. For a price of $60 per month and a charge of 7% of sales, you can create an unlimited number of stores – perhaps carrying special products or even unique brands. Instead of making your shopper scan through inventory, you can create a focused store through the combination of a targeted website domain (sorry, bigdogbeds is taken, but is available), search optimization and a search ad campaign.

These webstores can be created in a matter of minutes and may be just the secret to growing sales, especially for your unique, hard-to-find products. Do you have a product or brand that’s so special that it deserves a store of its own?

Unlike some of their previous services, Amazon’s webstore lets you create an e-commerce operation that looks the way you want (your site doesn’t have to look like what is now universally recognized as Amazon’s three column design).

If you don’t have a unique brand, how about a great place to sell seconds or your equivalent of “scratch and dent” merchandise. Here’s a fun example - the Jelly Belly Outlet, where they sell jelly beans that didn’t turn out like beans. Rejects are called . . . belly flops.


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